(WFI) Peru’s captain Paolo Guerrero will finally play in the World Cup despite testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine.
A Swiss Supreme Court ruled this Thursday an interim order to freeze Guerrero’s present ban imposed on him a few weeks ago by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Guerrero tested positive at a World Cup qualifying game against Argentina in October. He argued the stimulant had not been performance enhancing and was accidentally consumed in contaminated coca tea.
CAS had said earlier that it would not intervene or object if a federal judge in Switzerland decided to freeze the ban.
After the court’s order, Guerrero’s ban remains in place but it is to be delayed until after the tournament’s conclusion in July.
The striker was initially banned for six months by FIFA. However, a few weeks ago, CAS’ judges increased the ban to 14 months, upholding a counter appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
After the latest ruling, Guerrero has thanked those tha had supported his cause and expressed relief that the “unjust sanction” had been lifted, terming it “at least partial justice”.
“Each and every one of my teammates have given me the strength necessary to overcome this difficult moment, but this doesn’t surprise me, as that is how a family behaves and that is what we are,” said the Peruvian captain.
“My eternal gratitude to my country, to the millions of compatriots that have united with me in thousands of different ways, with a common denominator: overwhelming affection,” added the player.
Guerrero, nicknamed the “Warrior,” went on to stress his quest to clear his name is just beginning.
“My battle continues and will continue to be carried out by my lawyers, whom I also thank,” said the 34-year-old.
Peru is making its first World Cup appearance since 1982. in a group with France, Denmark and Australia.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER