Peru's Paolo Guerrero to play in World Cup after doping ban is reduced

Russia Soccer WCup Draw
Paolo Guerrero was Peru’s top scorer in World Cup qualifying with six goals.

ZURICH (AP) — Peru captain Paolo Guerrero will be eligible for next year’s World Cup after FIFA reduced his suspension for doping from one year to six months on Wednesday.

FIFA said that its appeal committee considered the six-month ban a proportionate sanction “after taking into account all circumstances of the case.”

Guerrero’s defense said the striker drank tea contaminated with coca leaves before a World Cup qualifier against Argentina on Oct. 5.

The Flamengo striker has been suspended since Nov. 3 and missed the playoff victory against New Zealand that secured a place for Peru at its first World Cup since 1982.

Speaking after the FIFA announcement, Guerrero’s lawyer Bichara Neto said the player planned to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have the six-month suspension annulled.

“The World Cup is assured. Now we will go to CAS for no suspension,” Neto told Brazilian media. “We hope that they hear our case by the end of January. CAS already has cases like this, such as that of tennis player Richard Gasquet. That’s why we will aim for complete annulment.”

Gasquet tested positive for cocaine in 2009, and his defense successfully argued that it was the result of kissing a girl in a Miami nightclub.

FIFA’s decision to reduce the ban could meanwhile be appealed at CAS by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Guerrero was Peru’s top scorer in World Cup qualifying with six goals.

Peru has been drawn in Group C at next year’s World Cup in Russia, and will play France, Denmark and Australia.

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