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

LuisSuarezCASMeeting1 (AFP)


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:


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.


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.


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)


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.


  1. Regulation is stupid and only exists because European leagues have no playoffs, need a reason to make people interested in the bottom of the table, and because for some reason European fans are content with their teams not competing for championships so long as they occasionally upset a top of the table teams. It also is a terrible model for when you are trying to create a league from scratch which is what MLS is doing. Regulation will do nothing to enhance soccer in the United States.

  2. Very sad about Martino being named Argentina, he was Messi ‘s puppet at Barca and now they hire him again for the seleccion. It should have been Simeone!!!

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

    Why does he ride the bench if he’s the captain?

  4. “French club Luzenac have been denied promotion to Ligue 2 ”

    Hurray for promotion and relegation… I guess there is always a way to kill dreams.

    • For those keeping score, Luzenac was in on promotion, out on finances, back in on finances, now out on stadium.

      They were going to play at Tolouse at a rugby stadium. The authorities are just looking for an excuse to keep them out.

      This underlines a flaw in the pro/rel purist arguments, which is that most leagues impose capital or stadium requirements, and pro/rel favors richer clubs that can afford to stock up a team and meet the rules. As a Fulham fan I know we had to play at QPR and redo Craven Cottage as a bigger all seater stadium, to be allowed promotion. It used to hold ~13k and have terraces both ends. The sideline stands used to dwarf the endlines, not vice versa like now.

      Every few years there’s a story like this from Scotland.

    • The club did not have a stadium with required capacity to play in the second division. Some MLS teams don’t even own a stadium (e.g., DCU, Revolution) so lack of soccer stadiums does not appear to be an impediment for instituting promotion/relegation in this country.

      • Is MLS going to say, we accept promotions but only with minimum 10k stadia and $x million in capital? They don’t care if they own it — that’s a red herring — but look at Miami, they care if it exists, and they moved SJ before when they didn’t like a lease situation.

        Because the catch 22 is some of these minor league teams play in smaller arenas they don’t even fill to capacity, and so it would be, my stadium is too small for MLS but might be oversized relative to their needs and current league if they expanded it to “move up.” You have to increase stadium size not knowing if you’ll be promoted, which is a financial risk and might be overkill relative to how many fans show up.

        They do the same thing in CCL. It was neat the first few years, you might play in Belize or in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Didn’t have to have lights or anything. Could be a day game in Nowheresville. Then they implemented rules where you had to meet stadium requirements and have lighting to play at standard night game times, as well as rules disallowing neutral site games where, once upon a time, Portmore might have its home game against America in Minute Maid park, so at least they can compete. Now it feels like it’s a similar set of teams every year.

      • It is up to MLS to set the rules for promotion and relegation. If they set the rule you’ve described, it would be a progress over the current closed system situation, where no promotion is possible. Six out of ten NASL teams have stadiums that would qualify under your rule. The remaining four are Atlanta, Edmonton, San Antonio and Tampa. Atlanta and San Antonio have soccer specific stadiums that are designed for future expansion. In other words, they will be fine. Tampa’s owners are planning to replace their stadium with a soccer specific stadium with capacity up to 18K. In other words, 9 out of 10 NASL teams would be likely able to meet the requirement, if they were granted promotion. The only team I think that might struggle is Edmonton, but Canadian teams/municipalities have had a pretty good track record with the MLS so I might be underestimating Edmonton.

      • It’s not such an issue in the US. We have a lot of stadiums of decent size(10,000+) just sitting around.

        There is a HS football stadium just down the road from FC Dallas that seats 18,000 people.

        The real problem is what is always has been in US soccer. There isn’t enough money floating around and you have to Pay to rent those larger stadiums.

      • The issue is not FCD right now, they are in the Big Boys club already with a lease on a stadium that holds plenty.

        I’m talking about Edmonton plays in a 5k stadium, and Atl and TB are in 7k stadia. Most of the USL Pro stadia are sub 10k.

        You want to promote the high performing teams from below, well what if they are a plucky team that plays in a tiny park on a small payroll, and they suddenly would be in MLS. You either let that team in MLS on the merits, with the risk they get in over their head, or you paternalize them like this Luzenac business, in which case it’s not pure pro/rel, because you have to meet criteria besides winning.

        When Fulham got promoted, EPL told them they couldn’t play in the Cottage with the terraces. They had to play at QPR and get development approval for expanding their riverside stadium, which was not easy.

        People act like pro/rel is some capitalistico-Darwinian perfection of merit, but there’s plenty of politics in it, and the lower division teams don’t have to beat the top division teams to go up, it’s automatic.

      • I was giving an example of a mostly empty stadium of suitable size.

        Other countries don’t have stadiums that big just hanging out all over the place..

      • As far as Politics go, there was some “cute” stuff going on in Brazil last year.

        Fluminense was relegated but got to stay up because of a court order. It’s complicated but on the field performances should have seen them out of the top tier.

      • Harsh,

        I suppose you wouldn’t expect lights to be an issue… but then again making the rule means you know some teams don’t have them.

  5. The CAS needs to have the ability to expand punishments, so that silly appeals (like this one) have a negative consequence.

    • Legal experts say Suarez’s appeal lacks bite.

      But seriously, the CAS wouldn’t have much reason to exist except people appealing international sports bodies’ decisions.

    • In each case, CAS applies whatever rules they’re supposed to based on the entity that the case is coming from. So basically, if FIFA wanted to allow CAS to do this, they’d just have to change their own rules. But it’s FIFA, so they probably won’t do it.


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