By Pilar Suarez
Luis Suarez could have his four-month ban for biting reduced, allowing the Barcelona striker to play in the club's first game of the 2014-15 Primera Division season.
The 27-year-old was handed a nine-match international ban and suspended for four months from "any football-related activities" by Fifa in June after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup group-stage match in Brazil.
After having an initial appeal against the punishment rejected by football's world governing body, Suarez ultimately completed a £70 million move to Barcelona - though the Catalan giants were unable to formally present their new acquisition because of the ban.
Barcelona decided to take an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the player's lawyer described the punishment as "draconian, totalitarian and fascist".
And a source from CAS has now told Goal that, while Suarez's ban from international football will remain in place, his four-month suspension is likely to be reduced – meaning that he would be able to begin the new league campaign for Barca.
"Now that the case has arrived at CAS, it is very likely that we will reduce the penalty," the source confirmed.
"The ban would only apply to the Uruguay national team and not to Barcelona."
Arbitrators at CAS are believed to agree with the consensus at Barcelona that Fifa's overall sanction against Suarez is excessive.
Under the terms of the suspension, the Uruguay star is unable to train with his new team-mates and cannot step foot inside Camp Nou.
Suarez apologised for his actions following the incident in Brazil, which also resulted in the player being fined 100,000 Swiss Francs (£65,200) by Fifa.