Neymar is expected to miss the hotly-anticipated El Clasico at Real Madrid on Sunday (23 April) after the Spanish Football Federation had rejected the Barcelona appeal against the Brazilian's three-game ban. However, the club still have a little hope of having the suspension suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The Brazilian international was sent off during the recent defeat to Malaga after receiving a second yellow card following a late challenge on Diego Llorente.
Neymar was handed a retrospective three-game ban for ironically applauding the fourth official as he made his way off the pitch – one for the two yellow cards and further two for his behaviour.
The 25-year-old star consequently missed last weekend's 3-2 win over Real Sociedad but Barcelona made an appeal to the Spanish football federation in a bid to have him available to face Real Madrid.
The appeal was rejected on Thursday night as it was widely expected, meaning that under current circumstances Neymar will miss El Clasico.
However, there is still a last resort for Barcelona to have the Brazilian free to face Real Madrid on Sunday by taking the case to the TAD – the highest court of justice for sports in Spain.
The seven members who made up the TAD meets in plenary session every Friday to analyse appeals like Neymar's one, acting independently from the national agency.
Then, its resolutions – which normally take several weeks and even months – are executed by the different sport Federations like the football one.
After the conclusion of Friday's meeting, the president of CAS told the Spanish media that they haven't received any appeal from Barcelona regarding Neymar's ban.
Barcelona, however, have confirmed to its official website that they are going to do it as they technically still have time until Saturday [48 hours after the Spanish football federation rejected their first appeal].
"With the Appeal Committee dismissing FC Barcelona's appeal for the three-match suspension of Neymar Jr, the Club will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)," the club confirmed. "It should be reminded that the referee showed the Brazilian two yellow cards against Málaga. According to the referee's report produced by Gil Manzano, Neymar received the first card for 'not respecting the regulated distance before a free-kick, after being warned in advance'. For the second yellow, he was sanctioned for 'bringing down an opponent when disputing for the ball'. And, in addition, he also wrote that Neymar "after being sent off and when he was heading to the tunnel, he went towards the fourth official and applauded him."
Some reports in Spain are suggesting that Barcelona have delayed the appeal on purpose in order to force CAS to hold another emergency meeting on Saturday. Yet, in the case they decide against it, the Catalans believe that they should suspend the ban temporarily to analyse the case in depth before making a final resolution.
If this is the case, even if Neymar is suspended in the future, he will be free to face Real Madrid on Sunday.