Suarez and Barcelona in court to have bite ban reduced
Uruguayan striker hopes to have ban reduced and play for his new club by the end of the month
Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan FA and his new employers, Barcelona, have begun their battle to have the player's punishment for biting an opponent during the World Cup reduced.
The striker arrived at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne on Friday confident that his four month ban would be halved, a decision that would allow him to resume training and make his debut for Barcelona at the end of this month.
Suarez's lawyers are expected to argue that because the offence took place during an international match, the punishment should only apply to international football reports the BBC.
The Uruguayan striker sank his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during their group-stage match in Brazil. His reward was a £66,000 fine, a nine-match international ban and a four month ban from all football, and Fifa's appeal committee subsequently upheld the punishment.
Suarez's adviser, Alejandro Balbi "also confirmed that the Uruguay FA's lawyers will lead the defence despite reports in Spain that Barcelona's lawyer will represent Suarez," reports The Guardian.
"It is clear that Uruguay are interested in reducing the penalty imposed on Luis by the number of matches while Barcelona want to reduce the sentence by a number of months. But we will defend him on everything," said Balbi.
It could be argued that Suarez would be better served by Barcelona's lawyers, for one of the ironies of his situation is that he is only a Barcelona player thanks in part to the Spanish club's legal team and the court where his case is being heard.
In April Barcelona were hit with a worldwide transfer ban, which was suspended by Fifa after the Spanish club said they would appeal to the CAS to have it overturned. That decision enabled them to buy Suarez from Liverpool for £75m in July.
The CAS says a ruling on the case is not likely until next week.