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Suarez biting bans remain in force but he can train

Reuters | Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

BERNE, Switzerland - Uruguay forward Luis Suarez's four-month playing ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) although he will be allowed train with his new club Barcelona.

CAS said in a statement that it had removed the clause which banned the 27-year-old from "any football-related activity" following an appeal by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) on Suarez's behalf.

The Barcelona player remains ineligible to play in official matches during the four-month period, and his nine-game international ban also stays in force following the notorious incident during the World Cup group game on June 24 which Uruguay won 1-0.

"The sanctions imposed on the player by FIFA have been generally confirmed," CAS said in a statement. "However, the 4-month suspension will apply to official matches only and no longer to other football-related activities (such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters)."

"It has however considered that the stadium ban and the ban from 'any football-related activity' were excessive given that such measures are not appropriate to sanction the offence committed by the player and would still have an impact on his activity after the end of the suspension."

Suarez's legal team said they had successfully argued that FIFA had misapplied its own rules when considering the case and the sanction it imposed on other football-related activities was disproportionate. "As a result, Suarez is now permitted to train and attend matches with his Barcelona team mates in preparation for the new season," his lawyers said in a statement.

"I expected something different, although not much," said AUF president Wilmar Valdez in a statement. "CAS is a totally independent tribunal and this is to do with the way people see things, it's a cultural matter. They way we live football in South America is different to Europe, for us there are things which are normal and which deserve sanctions, but not such harsh ones.

"The training is something positive because not being able to train was too tough.

"It was shown in the World Cup, in the matches Suarez did not play in, that he is a fundamental player. We will have to work to look for the appropriate alternatives."

Uruguay and Italy were drawing 0-0 when the incident happened late in the game. Shortly afterwards, Diego Godin headed the winner from a corner to send the South Americans into the last 16 at Italy's expense.

Suarez went to CAS, which conducted a hearing on the matter last Friday, after losing a first appeal at FIFA.

A Liverpool player at the time of the biting incident, Suarez has since joined Barcelona for a fee reported to be 81 million euros (S$135 million) by local media.

Banned twice before for biting, Suarez initially denied sinking his teeth into Chiellini but photographs of marks on the Italian defender's shoulder were damning.

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