Friday Kickoff: Suarez appeal heard at CAS; Martino to be next Argentina coach; and more

Friday Kickoff: Suarez appeal heard at CAS; Martino to be next Argentina coach; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Suarez appeal heard at CAS; Martino to be next Argentina coach; and more

LuisSuarezCASMeeting1 (AFP)

By DAN KARELL

Luis Suarez’s final appeal to have his FIFA suspension reduced will be heard on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Uruguayan forward will appear in front of a five-man CAS panel as they hold a hearing to discuss the original nine-match international ban and four-month suspension from all soccer activities after video replays caught Suarez biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder.

Both Suarez and Barcelona are in favor of the four-month suspension being wiped away, so that Suarez can be officially introduced as a Barcelona player and begin training with his teammates ahead of the new season. FIFA has maintained however that the original ban stands.

Suarez completed a reported €75 million transfer move from Liverpool to Barcelona on July 11, though because of the ban he was not allowed to be introduced to the media and fans. Suarez has been barred from training with his new teammates and is forced to train on his own through Oct. 26, under the original terms of the suspension.

The 27-year-old forward was suspended for ten games by the FA in 2013 for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. In 2010, Suarez was fined and suspended for seven matches by the Dutch FA after biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

MARTINO SET FOR ARGENTINA JOB

Gerardo Martino looks set to return to the international stage.

According to multiple reports in Argentina, the former Barcelona, Newell’s Old Boys, and Paraguay coach was offered and has accepted the position of head coach of the Argentina National Team after a two-hour meeting with Luis Segura, the new president of the Argentine FA.

Martino is taking the place of Alejandro Sabella, who declined to accept a contract extension following the 2014 World Cup.

The 51-year-old Martino is coming off a season at Barcelona where the club lost La Liga on the final day and did not win a single trophy other than the Spanish Supercup, a disappointing year for the club’s standards. Prior to last season, Martino guided Newell’s to an Argentine league title and the semifinals of the 2013 Copa Libertadores.

With Paraguay, Martino led the national team to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals and finished as runners-up in the 2011 Copa America.

BARCELONA BID FOR VERMAELEN ACCEPTED

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen’s stay at the club looks likely to end soon.

The North London club have accepted a £15 million bid from Barcelona for the Belgian international, who looks set to depart Arsenal after five years at the Emirates Stadium. All that’s left for the transfer to be completed are personal terms to be signed and for Vermaelen to pass a medical.

Vermaelen looked set for a place on the bench for a second season in a row with Arsene Wenger likely preferring to go with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as the main centerback pair. The 28-year-old made just 14 English Premier League appearances last year after making 29 appearances in each of the prior two seasons.

Barcelona, who signed defender Jeremy Mathieu earlier this summer, are looking for a replacement for now-retired defender Carles Puyol. If Vermaelen does sign with Barca, it could allow Javier Mascherano to move forward into a move midfield role.

QUICK KICKS

Didier Drogba has retired from international soccer after 12 years with the Ivory Coast National Team. (REPORT)

UEFA have approved the use of vanishing spray for referee’s to use for all UEFA competitions this year. (REPORT)

Celtic have been reinstated to the UEFA Champions League after Legia Warsaw played an ineligible player in the second leg of the tie. (REPORT)

Xabi Alonso’s suspension from the UEFA Supercup for entering the field of play during the Champions League final has been upheld. (REPORT)

Young Everton defender John Stones has signed a five-year contract with the club. (REPORT)

French club Luzenac have been denied promotion to Ligue 2 because their home stadium does not have the required capacity. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Suarez’s appeal being accepted? Do think Martino is the right choice? Do you expect to see Vermaelen start for Barcelona?

Share your thoughts below.

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