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Peru captain Guerrero banned again, awaiting final verdict

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ZURICH (AP) Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, who was cleared to play at the World Cup by Switzerland’s supreme court, has again been blocked from playing because a federal judge ended the freeze on his 14-month doping ban.

FIFA says the Swiss Federal Tribunal has lifted “the provisional suspensive effect” that allowed Guerrero to play in Russia. The decision means the 34-year-old Guerrero will not be allowed to resume playing with Brazilian club Internacional.

The Swiss court is expected to soon give a final verdict in Guerrero’s appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that increased his six-month ban by FIFA to 14 months.

Guerrero tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine at a World Cup qualifier against Argentina in October. He scored one goal at the World Cup, where Peru was eliminated in the group stage.

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Guerrero, cleared for World Cup, scores twice in return for Peru

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After what will undoubtedly go down as the worst six-month period of his professional career, Paolo Guerrero has had a pretty swell last three days.

[ MORE: Germany, Iceland lose late; Ireland tops USMNT ]

Having been told late last year that he was banned from taking his first and final chance to play for Peru at a World Cup — his country’s first appearance since 1982 — Guerrero was devastated.

On Thursday, the 34-year-old was cleared to play at the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a Swiss supreme court ruling put his controversial doping ban on hold.

On Sunday, Guerrero made his return to the field, dawning the red and white of Peru, and scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, taking the tally for his legendary international career to 35 goals.

Guererro could still be forced to complete what was originally a 14-month ban, but a Switzerland Federal Tribunal judge said Thursday the ban should not apply until Guerrero’s appeal is heard in full after the World Cup.

(Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Peru’s Guerrero to play at World Cup despite drugs ban

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Peru’s captain Paolo Guerrero has been cleared by a Swiss supreme court to play at the 2018 World Cup this summer despite being banned for 14-month for failing a drugs test.

His ban will now begin after the tournament is over with his case moved to a later date.

Guerrero, 34, is Peru’s all-time leading goalscorer with 32 goals in 86 appearances for his country and his goals propelled them to their first World Cup qualification since 1982.

However he tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine following a World Cup qualifier against Argentina last October. Guerrero argued that the substance didn’t enhance his performance and said that he accidentally consumed contaminated tea.

Guerrero was subsequently banned and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had upheld the ban earlier this month in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Since then the captains of Peru’s three opponents in Group C of the World Cup this summer — France’s Hugo Lloris, Australia’s Mile Jedinak and Denmark’s Simon Kjaer — have all written to FIFA to ask for Guerrero’s ban to be delayed.

It appears their words helped Guerrero realize his dream as he will lead Peru in Russia this summer.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

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However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

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That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a failed drug test.

Peru captain Guerrero banned from World Cup in doping case

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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.