FIFA on Thursday dismissed appeals by Uruguay and Luis Suarez over the striker’s four-month global ban for biting a World Cup opponent.
However amid doubts about the scope of the restrictions on the star goalscorer’s activities, Suarez could still take a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“The FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to reject appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA,” a statement said.
“The terms of the decision taken by the FIFA Appeal Committee were communicated to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.”
The FIFA statement said the decision was not binding, meaning the Liverpool star Suarez — who is on the verge of a move to Barcelona — could appeal to CAS.
Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Association have 10 days to request the full written reasons for the appeal being rejected by FIFA. They can then lodge an appeal with CAS.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said that only the arbitration court could decide if the sanctions should be lifted while the appeal is decided.
If the CAS suspends the sanctions, Suarez — who bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in a Group D game on June 24 as Uruguay headed for a 1-0 victory — could play at the start of the season for Barcelona.
But if the ban was then confirmed, he would miss a key part of the European season.
The striker, who has two previous lengthy bans for biting opponents, was thrown out of the World Cup and banned from all football activity for four months.
Suarez was also suspended for nine internationals and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (112,000 dollars).
He has since made a public apology to Chiellini — who has backed his case to be able to play again — while Spanish giants Barcelona are negotiating to buy the prolific striker from England’s Liverpool.
According to British media, Barcelona have reached a deal with Liverpool, but the official announcement has been held up because the Spanish team are seeking clarification from FIFA of the scope of the ban.
The reports said the transfer could eventually be worth £75 million ($130 million) but is also conditional on Barcelona selling Chile’s World Cup striker Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal.
According to British press reports Sanchez was in london Thursday to undergo a medical.
The FIFA ban precludes Suarez from entering any stadium and training with his club — whether that is Liverpool or Barcelona — for the four month ban. But FIFpro, the World Players Union, says the sanctions are not clear enough.
“The fact that Suarez is prohibited from working for a long period must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work. Also the fact that Liverpool FC is affected needs to be an important issue,” said a FIFpro statement.
As well as Barcelona, Liverpool and the English Football Association are also believed to have sought clarifications on the ban from the world governing body.
Suarez at first denied to FIFA that he had bitten Chiellini. But he then admitted in his public apology that the Italian “suffered the physical result of a bite”.
FIFA ordered its exemplary punishment because Suarez at first showed no remorse.