Suarez free to train with Barca

Luis Suarez will train with his new Barcelona team-mates for the first time on Friday

Luis Suarez will train with his new Barcelona team-mates for the first time on Friday

First published in National Sport © by

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will train with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport relaxed the "excessive" elements of his four-month ban.

The 27-year-old failed in his appeal to have the entire suspension removed but he will now be able to train and play in friendlies for club and country after CAS ruled the punishment was overly harsh.

Suarez was originally suspended from all football-related activity for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, which included a nine-match international exile and a £66,255 fine.

The impact of that has been significantly lessened by the CAS ruling, which is a big boost to Barcelona after they paid £75million to sign him from Liverpool this summer.

"The sanction in question will cover official matches only and does not include friendly matches," FIFA confirmed in a statement.

As a result, Suarez can now begin his new career immediately with the Catalans.

"Following the announcement of the verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding the appeal against the sanction imposed on Luis Suarez by FIFA, FC Barcelona hereby announces that the player will join the first team's training session scheduled for Friday at 9.30am in the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper," a statement from the club read.

"Likewise, the public presentation of Suarez as a new FC Barcelona player will be held on Monday at the Camp Nou, on occasion of the Joan Gamper Trophy match (against Mexican side Club Leon)."

It remains to be seen whether Suarez will play any part in Barca's last scheduled pre-season friendly on Monday, but it seems likely the club will organise other matches to help get the player up to speed while he sits out eight Primera Division matches and three Champions League games.

Suarez's first competitive game will be the Clasico against arch rivals Real Madrid on October 26.

CAS felt Suarez's ban broadly fitted the crime - having "committed an act of assault" - but believed extending it beyond the pitch was excessive, even taking into account it was the third time he had been found guilty of biting an opponent after incidents with PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

"The CAS panel has partially upheld the appeal. The sanctions imposed on the player by FIFA have been generally confirmed," a statement read.

"However, the four-month suspension will apply to official matches only and no longer to other football-related activities (such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters).

"The CAS panel found that the sanctions imposed on the player were generally proportionate to the offence committed.

"It has, however, considered that the stadium ban and the ban from 'any football-related activity' were excessive, given that such measures are not appropriate to sanction the offence committed by the player and would still have an impact on his activity after the end of the suspension."

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