Luis loses appeal
FIFA uphold ban on Suarez as he puts finishing touches to move from Liverpool to Barcelona
FIFA have rejected an appeal by Luis Suarez and the Uruguay Football Federation (AUF) against his four-month ban from all football activities for biting an opponent.
The appeal was lodged against the sanctions imposed on the Liverpool striker by FIFA's disciplinary committee for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini. They included a nine-match international ban plus a 100,000 Swiss franc (£66,000) fine.
FIFA head of media Delia Fischer told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: "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."
Both the player and the AUF can make a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Fischer added: "The relevant decision is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport is still possible by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions."
The 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.
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.
Suarez is edging towards that £75m move to the Nou Camp as Liverpool step up their own transfer activity by considering a £10m bid for Swansea left-back Ben Davies.
Suarez's exit from Anfield could be sealed in the next 24 hours after the two clubs agreed the final details on the deal.
Negotiations between Liverpool and Barcelona are highly advanced, and the only other delay has been over the schedule of payments, but the forward is expected to be presented by the Spanish giants in the next few days.
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, is focusing on strengthening his squad regardless of Suarez's imminent departure, and is expected to complete the signing of Serbian international Lazar Markovic.
The Benfica winger flew to England last night and will undergo a medical at Melwood before completing the formalities of the deal. Markovic has a buy-out clause in his contract and he will join Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can as the latest new arrival on Merseyside.
Davies has now emerged as a realistic target after Liverpool made an inquiry to the Welsh club yesterday. Davies is also wanted by Tottenham Hotspur, but Rodgers is weighing up a raid on his old club to solve what has proved a problematic position. Both Liverpool and Spurs are prepared to meet the £10million valuation for the Wales international, who is in Chicago with the Swansea squad.
Liverpool are also confident of signing Divock Origi, the Belgium international, after holding initial talks yesterday. The 19-year-old will cost around £10million from Lille but the Ligue 1 club have insisted he goes back on loan next season as part of the deal.
Spurs are believed to have made a late bid to sign the forward, but Liverpool do not envisage any problems in completing the deal.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have stepped up their efforts to make left-back Filipe Luis the club's permanent replacement for Ashley Cole.
Roma signed Cole this week and Chelsea want 28-year-old Luis to step into his position next season.
Chelsea have reopened negotiations with Atletico Madrid over agreeing a fee for Luis, who wants to move to Stamford Bridge.
There is a release clause of around £19million in his Atletico contract, but Chelsea have been reluctant to meet that figure.
The Blues, though, are trying again to strike a deal with the Spanish club, from whom they have already signed striker Diego Costa.
Argentina left-back Marcos Rojo, who plays for Sporting Lisbon, is one alternative if Chelsea cannot settle on a price with Atletico.
Signing a specialised left-back is now a priority for Chelsea following the captures of striker Costa and midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
Cesar Azpilicueta played most of last season at left-back for Chelsea, but his natural position is on the right.