Sports

Peru captain Guerrero cleared to play at World Cup

Peru captain Guerrero cleared to play at World Cup

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero can play at this summer's World Cup after a Swiss tribunal ruled on his drug ban.

Guerrero is now free to play for Peru in their first World Cup finals since Spain 1982.

'Neither one nor the other was categorically opposed (to him playing),' the court said.

WADA appealed FIFA's ruling in the Court Of Arbitration For Sport (CAS) on the grounds that athletes are exclusively responsible for what they put into their body.

Despite his age, months-long absence from football, and Peru's excellent form - they're unbeaten since November 2016 - his reprieve will be heralded throughout the land and the squad.

The forward was given an initial 12-month ban after testing positive for cocaine metabolite after a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Argentina in October 2017.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said in a statement that the 34-year-old would suffer "if he saw himself prevented from participating in a competition that will be the culmination of his career as a footballer, given that he did not act intentionally or with significant negligence".

Kiss wrote in an eight-page judgment how Guerrero benefited from a "rare surge of solidarity" to support his case.

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She also noted a possible negative effect on Guerrero's teammates of being deprived of their "emblematic" captain.

Sport's top arbitration court responded by increasing the reduced six-month ban to 14 months. He argued the stimulant had not been performance enhancing and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.

That included a letter signed by captains of Peru's three World Cup opponents - France, Denmark and Australia - urging he be allowed to play.

His Fifa-imposed ban of six months had expired that same day.

But instead of accepting the ruling, Guerrero appealed to CAS in a bid to clear his name. The panel decided a ban to January 2019 was an "appropriate sanction ... in light of Mr Guerrero's degree of fault".

The CAS will not object to the request for a stay.

At the World Cup, Peru opens against Denmark on June 16 in Saransk.


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