Luis Suarez’s lawyer optimistic the biting ban will be reduced

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Luis Suarez’s biting problems aren’t anything new, but they were thrust onto the national stage at the World Cup in June, when Barcelona’s recent acquisition and Uruguay international was caught biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee then followed up the incident by inflicting upon Suarez a four-month ban from all football related activity, including not being able to enter a stadium and an inability to play in nine international matches

But Suarez’s lawyer, Daniel Cravo, is sure that his client’s lengthy sentence will be decreased, although his attempt to accomplish this task with the Court of Arbitration of Sport (world football’s governing body) failed last month.

This Friday, Cravo will try once more to put Suarez’s biting and on-field issues into perspective. While he hopes to get the former Liverpool standout back onto the field as soon as possible, Cravo believes that FIFA doesn’t have a great deal of backing for this long ban, if one was to observe incidents that took place at the World Cup in years past.

“I think FIFA wanted to show they could take action,” he said, per Radio Globo. “There was dissatisfaction with how other incidents had been treated at the World Cup and Suarez paid for them. Not even the sanction of [Zinedine] Zidane in 2006 or those of Leonardo and [Mauro] Tassotti in 1994 were as severe.

“Is the Suarez incident the worst in the history of the World Cup?

“I believe that the sanction which affects his work at a club level will be revoked. There is no precedent in history to justify it.

“I am going to try and reduce his ban with Uruguay — nine games is too much and would stop him from playing until 2016.

“[The CAS] is totally different and on various occasions in the past they have taken completely different decisions to those which have been taken by FIFA.”

The court may draw upon the Suarez’s two other biting occurrences, both taking place in club competition. In 2010 playing for Ajax, Suarez bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder, and in 2013, Suarez was given a 10-game suspension for biting Chelsea man Branislov Ivanovic.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.