Luis Suarez's Punishment Upheld by FIFA Following Appeal

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Luis Suarez's Punishment Upheld by FIFA Following Appeal
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Updates from Thursday, July 24

ESPN FC provided an update on an upcoming review of Luis Suarez's appeal following FIFA's ban:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has agreed to review the appeal of Luis Suarez's ban for biting an opponent during the second week of August with an open and quick process, Spanish news agency Efe said on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

CAS is also expected to evaluate, as the defence has requested, that cautionary measures be applied while the case is under review, according to Efe sources.

Updates from Saturday, July 12

According to a report from the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports), Barcelona supports Suarez as he attempts to appeal his suspension:

Josep Maria Bartomeu says Barcelona backs Uruguay's appeal of the FIFA ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying Suarez ''recognized his mistake and Barca will be making sure he successfully reintegrates into the football world.''

Barcelona was undeterred by the latest in Suarez's lengthy list of misdemeanors in agreeing to a $130 million deal. Suarez joins Lionel Messi and Neymar as Barcelona looks to bounce back from its first season without a major trophy since 2007.

Original Text

Luis Suarez will miss nine international matches for Uruguay as well as the next four months of all football activity after FIFA upheld his ban following an appeal. The punishment is for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup group stage.

FIFA's official World Cup Twitter account passed along the news:

Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson reports that Suarez still has another hand he can play if he wishes to shorten his ban:

FIFA's decision could have intriguing implications for Suarez's much-anticipated move to Barcelona. The Daily Mail's Simon Jones reports that the deal has been held up in order to wait for FIFA's ruling:

Barcelona hope to formally announce the signing of Luis Suarez on Thursday once Alexis Sanchez is confirmed as an Arsenal player.

The signing could be delayed until Friday, however, as they await further clarification over his four-month ban from FIFA.

Barcelona are still negotiating with Liverpool, per Jones' report, and the decision to uphold his ban could potentially be used by the Catalans as a reason to persuade the Reds to drop their asking price.

The incident in question happened late in the final match of the opening round for both Uruguay and Italy. The scoreline was 0-0 with just over 10 minutes remaining when Suarez and Chiellini collided in the box.

Replays showed Suarez apparently leaning down to bite the shoulder of the center back. Chiellini proceeded to pull down the sleeve of his shirt in an attempt to show the referee the bite mark, but no immediate punishment was given.

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Uruguay proceeded to score the game-winning goal just minutes later to advance to the round of 16.

Afterward, Massimo Marioni of the Metro provided comments from Suarez, who didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing despite the video evidence: "These situations arise on the pitch, I've collided with his shoulder. It drove me a little crazy too, but these things happen on the pitch. There's no need to make a story out of it."

FIFA acted quickly to hand down the serious punishment. Ian Abrahams of TalkSPORT noted the reaction from Uruguayan official Wilmar Valdez, who made his thoughts on the decision crystal clear:

The incident drew the ire of many around the globe, in large part due to the fact  that this wasn't the first time Suarez bit an opponent. He received suspensions in both 2010 with Ajax and 2013 with Liverpool for the same thing. He clearly didn't learn his lesson.

When you pair those previous lapses in judgment with the fact that Suarez did it again on the sport's biggest stage, it wasn't a surprise the governing body came down hard on him.

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Now that the appeal has been heard and ruled upon, the issue comes to a close—at least from FIFA's perspective. It's now something Uruguay and Liverpool are forced to deal with.

In the bigger picture, the two-part quandary surrounds whether the latest punishment will finally serve as a wake-up call for Suarez and, if not, how long FIFA and the Premier League—or wherever he ends up next—will put up with his antics.

He's one of the most talented attacking players in the world, which gives him incredible value. Yet there's a difference between being a dirty player and biting opponents on what's become a pretty regular basis. That's not acceptable, regardless of a player's talent level.

Hopefully, the message gets through loud and clear to Suarez this time around. Ideally, he serves the ban and comes back with a renewed focus to make sure any attention that surrounds him is for something positive he did on the pitch.

 

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