Suarez lawyer hits out at FIFA

Congleton Guardian: Luis Suarez is banned from all football-related activity for four months Luis Suarez is banned from all football-related activity for four months

Luis Suarez's lawyer has condemned FIFA's punishment of the Uruguay striker for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini as "draconian, totalitarian and fascist", and said an appeal will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Speaking just before Barcelona and Liverpool confirmed reaching an agreement for the transfer of Suarez to the Catalan club, Alejandro Balbi reacted angrily to FIFA's announcement on Thursday that an initial appeal from both Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Federation (AUF) had been rejected.

Suarez had appealed against FIFA's sanctions, which include a ban on "all football-related activities" for four months, a nine-match ban from international football, as well as a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (£66,000).

The ban prohibits Suarez from attending football matches, training with Uruguay or his club and attending functions organised by his team - a penalty which will now be borne by Barcelona following Suarez's move.

In an interview with Spanish radio station Cope, Suarez's lawyer Alejandro Balbi hit out at football's global organising body and confirmed an appeal would go forward in an attempt to see the ban reduced.

"We hope they revoke this sanction that is blatantly draconian, totalitarian and fascist," said Balbi.

"The right of a footballer to work is being violated, and football should be worried about that. The nine (international) games may seem excessive, but the fact that he can't watch a game of football, or train or carry out his job, we are talking about unpleasant things."

Although Suarez initially denied biting Chiellini, claiming in his defence that he "lost balance" and "hit my face against the player", he later issued a public apology to the Juventus defender, who in turn accepted the apology and said the ban imposed on Suarez was excessive.

However, neither Suarez nor Chiellini's latest responses could persuade FIFA to alter its stance.

"Luis recognised his error but we've seen that for FIFA saying sorry is not an important factor," added Balbi.

"Justice will take its time but it will come.

"We knew that FIFA would uphold the ban because they are corporatists. We will not stop, we are going to go to the CAS and we will keep taking the juridical path that is available to us."

If Suarez does to go CAS, he could ask the court to suspend the ban pending a final decision. CAS may refuse to do so but, if it agrees, it could mean Suarez being available at the start of the domestic season.

The downside, however, is that if CAS puts the ban on hold, it means that, instead of Suarez being banned for a month of the close season when no clubs are playing, he would instead face being out for even longer when the campaign starts.

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