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Barcelona's Suarez arrives at CAS to appeal ban for biting

AP, Friday 8 Aug 2014
Luis Suarez
Uruguay's Luis Suarez holds his teeth after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay in Natal, Brazil. Sinking teeth into the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini in a group-stage game led to a four-month ban from all football for the Uruguay striker. (Photo: AP)

Luis Suarez has arrived at world sport's highest court to appeal his ban for biting an opponent at the World Cup.

The Uruguay and Barcelona forward did not speak with reporters on arriving at the Court of Arbitration for Sport with his lawyers on Friday.

FIFA lawyers also declined comment heading into court for an expected four-hour hearing.

Suarez is trying to persuade a three-member CAS panel to reduce his ban of four months from all football activity and nine Uruguay matches in official competitions.

''We have to have a controlled optimism because we have to respect the panel,'' Daniel Cravo, lawyer for the Uruguay federation, told reporters.

The court has said it expects to give a ruling next week after FIFA consented to Suarez's request for a fast-track process.

Barcelona begins the Spanish league season in two weeks.

FIFA's sanction, which runs through Oct. 25, bars Suarez from training with Barcelona teammates.

Suarez has admitted biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder during Uruguay's 1-0 win in Natal, Brazil.

Because Suarez has acknowledged the incident, his legal team is unlikely to challenge FIFA on the facts of the case.

''I deeply regret what occurred,'' Suarez wrote on Twitter June 30, days after FIFA announced the sanctions. ''(The) truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me.''

Instead, Suarez's lawyers from the Uruguay football association and Barcelona should focus on persuading the three-member CAS panel that the sanctions are too severe.

The international group of football player's unions, FIFPro, has criticized the four-month ban as an infringement of Suarez's right to work.

Suarez has trained alone with a private coach while he is barred by FIFA from Barcelona's stadium and practice grounds.

FIFA did allow Suarez to take a medical to complete his reported 75 million pounds ($126 million) transfer from Liverpool last month on a five-year contract.

Still, Barcelona was denied holding any media events to present its recruit.

Suarez's ban of nine international matches is one more than FIFA imposed at the 1994 World Cup on Italy defender Mauro Tassotti for elbowing a Spanish opponent in a quarterfinal. That incident was also missed by match officials.

Suarez's confession changed his original version of what happened. He had denied biting Chiellini in a June 25 letter to the FIFA disciplinary hearing.

''After the impact ... I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent,'' Suarez wrote then.

FIFA's disciplinary committee stated in its verdict that Suarez showed no remorse or awareness of having committed an offense. It rejected a proposal to impose a six-match international ban.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter later suggested the disciplinary panel took into account two previous cases of Suarez biting opponents, when playing for Ajax in 2010 and Liverpool last year.

FIFA disciplinary head Claudio Sulser insisted his panel did not made an example of Suarez.

''One thing I mentioned in my capacity as the chairman is we don't need to impose an exemplary sanction,'' Sulser said at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, ''we need to have justice.''

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