Peru captain Guerrero banned from World Cup in doping case
GENEVA (AP) Peru captain Paolo Guerrero was banned from playing at the World Cup because of a positive doping test he said was caused by contaminated tea.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Monday it upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency to extend Guerrero’s six-month FIFA ban, which already expired this month.
Guerrero will now be banned for 14 months - an “appropriate sanction ... in light of Mr. Guerrero’s degree of fault” - until January, the court said in a statement.
The 34-year-old Guerrero was set to captain Peru in Russia at its first World Cup appearance since 1982. On Sunday he was named in his country’s provisional squad preparing to play France, Denmark and Australia.
Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, at a World Cup qualifying game against Argentina in October. Anti-doping rules prohibit the use of cocaine in an athlete’s competition period though not out of competition
His lawyers argued the stimulant had not been performance enhancing, and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.
The court said its judging panel “also accepted that he did not attempt to enhance his performance by ingesting the prohibited substance.”
“However, the Panel considered that the Player did bear some fault or negligence, even if it was not significant, and that he could have taken some measures to prevent him from committing the (doping violations),” the court said.
FIFA initially suspended Guerrero for one year through Nov. 3. It reduced the ban in a fast-tracked appeal last December which clearing him to play at the World Cup.
Two weeks ago, the former Bayern Munich player returned to play for his Brazilian club side Flamengo.
Guerrero scored his first goal on Sunday since the suspension, a header in Flamengo’s 3-2 defeat at Chapecoense in the Brazilian championship.
After the match, Guerrero said: “There is no reason for me to be suspended, I did nothing wrong and I trust the court to make the right decision.”
It is the second ruling from sport’s highest court that has weighed heavily on Peru’s first World Cup appearance in 36 years.
CAS gifted Peru three points that were key to advancing from the South American qualifying group in a previous appeal case brought by Bolivia’s soccer federation.
Bolivia fielded an ineligible player in a 2-0 win over Peru, and that result was overturned to a 3-0 loss by default. Without the three extra points, Peru would have fallen below Chile and Paraguay in the standings and out of contention.