Iniesta hoping for Suarez ban reduction

Luis Suarez

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is hopeful new team-mate Luis Suarez’s suspension may be reduced.

Suarez, a £75m signing from Liverpool, was handed a four-month ban by FIFA for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match, which prevents him from making his debut for Barcelona until October 26 when the Catalans play arch rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The 27-year-old striker saw an appeal to Fifa rejected and opted to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a final bid to see his ban reduced.

His lawyer Alejandro Balbi branded the sanction as “blatantly draconian, totalitarian and fascist”.

CAS has accepted Suarez’s appeal and is in the process of studying it, with a decision expected in mid-August.

Speaking yesterday, Iniesta was careful about commenting on the fairness of the ban, but said he wished Suarez could play for Barcelona as soon as possible.

“Suarez is a tremendous signing for us because of his quality, but the ban is something for the club, the courts and Fifa to deal with. We hope that can be resolved and the ban is reduced as much as possible.”

Iniesta added: “Right now he’s one of the best strikers in the world and he will bring to us that ambition he has to score goals, his willingness to work hard, that mobility that characterises him. ”

Iniesta also said that learning that his long-standing Barca team-mate Xavi Hernandez is set to stay at the club for another season was “one of the best pieces of news of the summer”.


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