LUIS Suarez is facing a dilemma over an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against his four-month biting ban as to whether he should ask his sanction to be put on hold until the outcome of the case.
Fifa on Thursday rejected outright an appeal by Suarez and the Uruguay football federation (AUF) against his sanctions for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez can now make a further appeal to CAS and can also ask the court to suspend the ban pending a final decision. CAS may refuse to do so, but if agreed it could mean Suarez could be available at the start of the domestic season.
The downside however is that CAS if puts the ban on hold, it means 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 season starts.
That issue will no doubt be a key part of discussion involving his current club Liverpool and Barcelona, his prospective buyers.
Suarez’s sanctions were imposed on June 26 and as well as the four-match ban from all football activity, included a nine-match international ban plus a 100,000 Swiss franc (£66,000) fine.
Fifa head of media Delia Fischer confirmed CAS could order the ban to be suspended while it dealt with the case.
She told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: “CAS may order the appeal to have a suspensive effect.”
The Fifa disciplinary committee’s initial decision took into account there had been no remorse from Suarez - and the fact it was the third time he had been involved in biting an opponent.
After lodging his appeal, Suarez did then issue a formal apology to Chiellini and vowed never to bite anyone again. However, that did not impress Fifa’s appeals panel.
Fischer added: “The Fifa appeal committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the Fifa disciplinary committee on June 25, 2014 in its entirety.
“The terms of the decision taken by the Fifa appeal committee were communicated to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.
“The relevant decision is not yet final and binding, ie an appeal to CAS is still possible by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions.”
The player was sent home from the World Cup in disgrace and faces being out of club football until the end of October, during which time he will not be allowed to train with a club.
Fifa has confirmed that the ban will not stand in the way of any transfer to Barcelona, who are close to agreeing a deal with Liverpool, nor of Suarez having a medical at a prospective new club.
If Suarez and the AUF want to pursue the matter with CAS they have 10 days to request the full written reasons for the appeal being rejected by Fifa, after which they can lodge a further appeal with CAS.