Updates from Friday, Aug. 15
Luis Suarez donned Barcelona training gear for the first time on Friday as he immediately capitalised on the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to allow him to work with his teammates.
Thursday's CAS verdict rescinded FIFA's ban on all football activity for Suarez, allowing him to resume training. His four-month global ban from competitive action remains, but Barca were clearly pleased to see Suarez in their colours:
Following the training session, Suarez confessed his delight at being able to bond with his new teammates, although he did point out that he is still suffering due to the ongoing suspension.
Barca TV, via the club's official website, provides the quotes:
I'm very happy to feel like a footballer again and to be with my teammates. I really wanted to get going. It was an uncomfortable situation. I'm paying for an error that I committed.
Now I have to wait to get back playing, and to have contact with the fans and experience what it's like to play in the Camp Nou. I'm very thankful to the club for all they've done for me in the last few days and weeks. They've treated me well and I'm grateful because I'm achieving a dream to play with Barça.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14
Luis Suarez has been unsuccessful in his appeal against FIFA's global four-month ban, which was handed down for biting Giorgio Chiellini.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport heard Suarez's appeal last week, and Graham Dunbar of the Associated Press provides the verdict:
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds Luis Suarez's 4-month playing ban; clears him to train.— Graham Dunbar (@gdunbarap) August 14, 2014
Dunbar passes down further details from the CAS regarding its decision, while NBC's Joe Prince-Wright claims Suarez can actually now feature in Barca's non-competitive fixtures:
What CAS said about FIFA sanctions for Suarez: Playing ban 'generally proportionate', training ban 'excessive' http://t.co/orl5fvXa4e— Graham Dunbar (@gdunbarap) August 14, 2014
More details RE Suarez: His ban does not include friendly games. He could play on Monday when Barca play Liga MX side Leon in Gamper trophy.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) August 14, 2014
Suarez can also play in international friendlies, as noted by the Daily Mail:
Luis Suarez's Lawyers also say he will be permitted to compete in Uruguay's upcoming international friendlies http://t.co/WZn9heaJ4C— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 14, 2014
Perhaps most significantly, Spanish football and B/R UK expert Guillem Balague claims Suarez will certainly be available for the first Clasico of the season, if deemed fit enough to play by Luis Enrique:
Luis Suárez can play the clásico as the ban finishes on the 24th at midnight— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 14, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13
Luis Suarez will find out on Thursday whether he has been successful in reducing the four-month global ban handed out by FIFA for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed, via Yahoo! Sports Canada:
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will announce its decision in the matter Luis Suarez, FC Barcelona and the Uruguayan FA on Thursday 14 August 2014, at around 3pm (2pm BST).
Updates on Friday, Aug. 8
Luis Suarez has left court after a five-hour hearing on Friday. He now awaits the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) verdict on whether his four-month worldwide ban for biting should be reduced.
Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson delivered the update:
Luis Suarez has now left the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Five-hour hearing. Declines to respond to questions. @SkySportsNews— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 8, 2014
The CAS will now deliver its verdict by the end of next week, as reported by Sky Sports' Orla Chennaoui:
Court of Arbitration for Sport says will issue decision on Luis Suarez appeal as soon as possible, probably by end of next week.— Orla Chennaoui (@SkyOrla) August 8, 2014
Rob Harris of the Associated Press provided footballer's union FIFPro's take on the trial:
Intl footballers' union FIFPro: "That Luis Suarez has been trialed and vilified in public, ever since the incident, is a sanction in itself"— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) August 8, 2014
Luis Suarez's bid to represent Barcelona before Oct. 25 begins on Friday when the player's legal team meets the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to try and lessen his four-month global ban from football.
The Uruguayan striker cannot partake in any sporting activity, including training, after biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the summer's World Cup. Alongside his 16-week exclusion from the game, Suarez will also be unavailable for a total of nine international matches, per Sky Sports.
He has arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland, to face the final decision on his future, tweeted by Nik Postinger of talkSPORT:
Luis Suárez arriving at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have his appeal heard. pic.twitter.com/JKtRaKzuWC— Nik Postinger (@nikpostinger) August 8, 2014
Despite FIFA recently upholding the original charges, Alejandro Balbi, Suarez's legal representation, is confident of seeing his client's punishment reduced.
Balbi notes it is unlikely the CAS will look to lessen Suarez's international ban due to the incident happening for Uruguay. Instead, he believes the length of Suarez's overall hiatus could be shortened if the international sanctions are adhered to.
The lawyer explained his line of thinking, per Uruguayan newspaper El Observador, via the Press Association and Daily Mail:
It would be more logical to reduce the sanction by a few months than to reduce the ban concerning international games, because legally it's easier to contend against the terms of the suspension that forbid him from training and from being at the club, because they violate fundamental rights.
Balbi also noted Suarez's international ban "is more a question of the level of the punishment," meaning he may aim to get this reduced.
Should Luis Suarez have his footballing ban reduced?
Barcelona supporters will certainly hope their new man receives a more lenient suspension. Suarez is due back on the weekend of El Clasico if the current sanctions are maintained, a fixture he may struggle to be fit for after months of training alone.
While it is perhaps a fairy tale to debut against Real Madrid, Blaugrana boss Luis Enrique would be taking a risk after the player's lack of action.
It had been rumoured the Catalan club would send their own lawyer to represent Suarez, but Balbi has confirmed those from the Uruguayan Football Association will lead the charge, per the Daily Mail. Even so, the defence will emphasise the need for all areas of his suspension—both internationally and at club level—to be lowered.
Balbi confirmed as much, while also addressing the financial implications of Suarez missing Uruguay's next nine matches, per the Daily Mail:
But we will defend him on everything, bearing in mind the fact there is also an economic effect on the AUF because not having Suarez means it loses between 250,000 US dollars and 359,000 US dollars every game.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu recently denied rumours a "no biting" clause had been placed in Suarez's contract during an interview with James Montague and Amanda Davies of CNN. "No, there is no clause," he confirmed. "If the clause did exist we wouldn't say it, but it doesn't exist."
Bartomeu also noted he "cannot talk about" the prospect of Suarez biting a fourth opponent during his professional career, saying Barcelona "don't know" how they would react to such an incident.
Although his attitude and character is constantly questioned, Suarez's quality of play isn't to be debated. The prolific striker scored 31 goals during Liverpool's rise to second in the Premier League last season, despite missing the start of the 2013-14 campaign for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez's elusive style and ability to finish from anywhere on the pitch makes him a constant threat. This is a player who can weave himself between three or four opponents before launching a stinging strike on goal. The 27-year-old isn't afraid to test his luck from distance and regularly pulls off feats that only a select amount of players could achieve.
Barcelona will certainly hope this comes to the forefront when his ban is eventually over. Despite showing signs of moving away from his troublemaker reputation last year, it seems Suarez's game will forever teeter on the brink of self-inflicted disaster.
The CAS indicates a decision could be made "some days after the conclusion of the hearing," per the Daily Mail. A quicker response may be offered on Friday once the appeal is over, but this remains to be seen.