Uruguay striker Luis Suarez's appeal against his lengthy suspension for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini has been rejected by FIFA.
The 27-year-old striker was handed a nine-match international suspension as well as a four-month ban from all football related activity after being found guilty of biting Chiellini at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Uruguay FA and Suarez appealed to FIFA in an attempt to reduce his suspension period, but the global football governing body rejected their pleas and upheld their original verdict.
"The Appeal Committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 25 June 2014 in its entirety," read a statement on FIFA's official website.
"The terms of the decision taken by the FIFA Appeal Committee were communicated to the player and the Uruguayan FA today."
However, FIFA have said that Suarez, who was also slapped with a fine of £65,000 following the bite incident, will be able to further appeal against the ban at the of Arbitration for Sport.
"The relevant decision is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) is still possible (cf. art. 67 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes) by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions," added the statement.
Suarez could request the CAS to temporarily lift his " four-month ban from all football related activity" as this would allow him to normally train and play for his club until they reach a final verdict.
If the CAS reject his plea, the Uruguayan, who is reportedly set to seal his £75 million transfer to Barcelona, will miss the first 18 games (including pre-season friendly games) of the season.
If Suarez moves to Barcelona, he will be missing the club's five pre-season friendly games and 13 competitive fixtures including 9 La Liga matches, three Champions League matches, and a Copa del Rey match.
Meanwhile if the former Ajax striker remains at Liverpool, he would be again missing a total of 18 games, including five friendlies, nine Premier League matches, three Champions League matches, and one Capital One Cup.