It was touch and go for about nine months there, but Paolo Guerrero, Peru’s all-time top goalscorer, will be allowed to take part at the 2018 World Cup after all.
The 34-year-old striker had been serving a 14-month drug ban after testing positive for cocaine back in October, which he claimed was caused by drinking coca leaf tea – a popular and perfectly legal beverage in his neck of the woods.
Guerrero was initially banned for 12 months by FIFA before it was halved on appeal. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and, mere weeks before the suspension was due to elapse, it got re-lengthened to 14 months.
Thankfully for Guerrero and Peru, a Swiss federal court has today ruled that the extension was “unjustified” and as such have declared that the CAS sanction is “provisionally deprived of effect”, thus clearing the way for the veteran forward to play in Russia this summer.
La Federación Peruana de Fútbol comparte con alegría el comunicado de nuestro jugador Paolo Guerrero sobre la decisión del Tribunal Federal Suizo. ¡Felicidades Paolo! pic.twitter.com/cycKpdTjVI
— FPF (@TuFPF) May 31, 2018
Just last week, the team captains of all three of Peru’s Group C opponents – France, Denmark and Australia – and wrote to FIFA pleading for the governing body to grant a “temporary interruption” to Guerrero’s ban.
Seems that the Swiss courts have gone out and done the job for them.