Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has had his three-match Champions League ban reduced to two games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled.
The 27-year-old was punished for insulting match officials over social media comments made in the wake of his side’s controversial 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United in March which denied them a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
PSG challenged the decision and, after UEFA had initially dismissed the claim, the Ligue 1 champions appealed to CAS – who ruled on Tuesday that the Brazil international will now serve a two-match ban.
It means he will sit out Wednesday’s Group A opener at home to summer suitors Real Madrid, as well as the trip to Galatasaray on October 1, but will now be available for their third game away to Club Brugge.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its final decision in the appeal filed by the French club Paris St Germain and the player Neymar Da Silva Santos Jr. against the decision taken by the UEFA Appeals Body on 18 June 2019,” a CAS statement read.
“The player was found to have insulted match officials through social media at the end of the Champions League match Paris St Germain vs Manchester United on 6 March 2019 and sanctioned with a three-match suspension from UEFA competition matches for which he would otherwise be eligible.
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“Following an appeal filed on 18 July 2019 by both Paris St Germain and the player, this CAS procedure was referred to a sole arbitrator, Prof. Ulrich Haas (Germany). A hearing was held at the CAS headquarters on 13 September 2019, during which the parties and their legal representatives were heard.
“In application of Art. 15 (1) lit. b of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations which provides for a minimum suspension of two matches in case of “abusive language” directed at a match official, the sole arbitrator partially upheld the appeal and reduced the suspension imposed by UEFA on Neymar Jr. to two (2) UEFA competition matches for which he would otherwise be eligible.”
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Neymar was injured for the game at the Parc des Princes as Marcus Rashford’s controversial late penalty, awarded via the use of the video assistant referee, saw the Red Devils overturn a 2-0 home defeat to advance on away goals.
He later wrote on social media: “This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR.”
The former Barcelona forward was heavily linked with a summer move back to Spain and was jeered by PSG supporters on his return to the team for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Strasbourg.
Neymar appears to have garnered so much ill-feelings among the club’s fanbase that he was also booed when converting a stoppage-time overhead kick to win the game for Thomas Tuchel’s side.