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.
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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.
This story has been corrected to show that the name of the FIFA committee was appeal, not disciplinary.
Paris-Saint Germain has established itself as one of Europe’s best sides, but their opponent on Sunday isn’t playing scared against Neymar and Co.
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Lyon has taken a 1-0 lead inside the opening two minutes against the Parisians after a stunning free kick by Nabil Fekir caught PSG keeper Alphonse Aréola off his line.
The hosts could move all the way up to second place today with a victory over PSG, who holds the league lead in Ligue 1 with a nine-point advantage.
The 24-year-old Fekir has been a revelation for Lyon in his fifth season with the club, scoring his 19th goal in all competitions on Sunday.
That total has already surpassed his career-high from the 2014/15 season, when he eclipsed 15 goals.
Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.
American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.
McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.
To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.
More to follow…
Watford’s replacement for fired manager Marco Silva is indeed veteran Spanish boss Javi Gracia.
[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]
The Hornets announced the 47-year-old’s hiring on Sunday, hours after firing Silva and blaming Everton’s pursuit of the manager for the club’s fall from European contender to the fringe of a relegation battle.
Watford is still four points clear of the drop following Southampton’s draw with Spurs on Sunday.
Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.
Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.
Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.
Mauricio Pochettino knows St. Mary’s well, and the ex-Southampton boss has managed a rainy, sloppy match or three there in the past.
[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Spurs ]
So he knows it’s possible to play well in those circumstances, leaving him feeling like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday was a wasted opportunity against a struggling Saints side.
“It is temporary that Southampton are in the relegation zone, for sure they will push up the table,” Pochettino said. “It is two points we are going to miss at the end of the season because it is so tough between six or seven teams.”
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So why couldn’t Spurs find their foothold? Well, aside from sickness keeping Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out of the lineup, a bug that may’ve affected more on the team, Spurs just weren’t up to snuff.
“We struggled to play,” Pochettino said. “It was in possession, we made mistakes which allowed them to play. To win the game we should do better and play better. It wasn’t great.
Pochettino was also asked about Spurs’ reported pursuit of 20-year-old Bordeaux star Malcom, who has seven goals and five assists in Ligue 1 this season.
“That is a rumor and I don’t want to speak about it. I am happy with our squad. We are open to quality players but you know very well it is difficult in this transfer window.”