Liverpool consider Luis Suarez options
Liverpool are working their way through the legal minefield of striker Luis Suarez's four-month ban from all football for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini but are still a long way from even considering launching a challenge to FIFA.
FIFA's independent disciplinary committee announced on Thursday that the Uruguayan would be banned for nine international matches in addition to a four-month suspension from all football -- including training -- which would see him miss a minimum of 12 games for Liverpool before returning at the end of October.
The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) has announced that it will appeal the sanctions, but the 27-year-old, who is also prohibited from entering stadiums, appears to have no prospect of playing any further part in the World Cup.
Liverpool have released a statement saying they will review FIFA's report before making a decision on their next course of action and Suarez's lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, said on Thursday he would meet the club as they assess their options.
"Tomorrow we will meet in Barcelona with Liverpool's lawyers," Balbi told Cadena Cope on Thursday.
However, Liverpool have dismissed Balbi's claim, and the Press Association reports that the lawyer was scheduled to accompany Suarez on a flight back to Montevideo following his expulsion from the World Cup.
PA adds that Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has been in regular contact with principal owner John Henry from the moment the Suarez incident happened on Tuesday evening.
Having seen no paperwork from the disciplinary hearing the club cannot yet formulate any sort of response and suggestions they are already considering a lawsuit against FIFA are wide of the mark.
Liverpool would be reluctant to take on world football's governing body and they are also keen to avoid becoming embroiled in a long, drawn-out saga through the Court of Arbitration of Sport, which would seem their most feasible course of redress.
However, no decisions have been made on how to progress as officials are still trying to ascertain the minutiae of the case in terms of things like Suarez's training regime.
Questions also continue to be raised over the striker's future at Anfield. AS claimed on Friday morning that Barcelona coach Luis Enrique remains keen to press on with a move for Suarez, and is eager to add him to an attack already boasting Lionel Messi and Neymar. The Spanish paper also wrote that some around the Camp Nou were less happy about the idea, with concerns about the PR impact of the signing.
When asked about the prospect of the striker joining Barca, Balbi had said that the matter would be discussed with the player's agent, Pere Guardiola, at the meeting with Liverpool, but it now appears no meeting will take place.
The Press Association reports that Ayre and Guardiola have a good relationship and there has always been an open line of communication between the pair.
Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen wrote in the Daily Telegraph that this latest biting incident makes it "impossible" for the player to leave Anfield this summer.
He added: "It will not even enter their minds to cast aside their most valuable asset. They will give him one last chance, again, because Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool owners will know that any prospects they have of winning the Premier League next season will be gone if Suarez leaves.
"So they will once again attempt to bring him back into the fold, even though there is every chance he will cite the hostility he will now receive in England as a means to force a move elsewhere.
"But after being suspended from all football for four months, there is little chance of a foreign club willing to invest the huge sum it would take to sign him if he cannot play until November."
Meanwhile, 888poker has announced that it has ended its relationship with Suarez following the Chiellini incident.
A statement read: "888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognized. Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report