BERNE, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Australia midfielder Mark Bresciano, handed a four-month ban over a transfer dispute, has been cleared to play at the World Cup following a decision by sport's highest tribunal.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it had rejected a request from Bresciano to temporarily lift the suspension, imposed in November by FIFA, pending his appeal which it said was unlikely to take place for another three months.
Paradoxically, if CAS had accepted the request, the 33-year-old would have run the risk of having to serve the remainder of the ban during the World Cup if he lost the appeal.
Instead, he will now remain banned until March and then be free to play at his third World Cup if selected, whatever the outcome.
Brendan Schwab, head of Asia division for the world players' union FIFPro, confirmed on Twitter that the decision cleared Bresciano for the World Cup.
"Mark Bresciano will be free to represent the Socceroos at the World Cup if selected," he said.
FIFA banned Bresciano after ruling that his transfer to Qatari club Al Gharafa from United Arab Emirates' side Al Nasr in 2012 was illegal.
FIFA ordered Bresciano and Al Gharafa to pay 1.37 million euros to Al Nasr and banned the Qatari club from signing players for the next two transfer windows.
"The FIFA decision will not be stayed and remains in effect until the CAS Panel renders its final decision, which is expected in around three month's time or less if the parties agree to an expedited procedure," said CAS.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Ed Osmond) Brian.email@example.com Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum (Reporting by Brian Homewood)
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