Peru captain Guerrero gets 1-year ban for doping, misses World Cup

Paolo Guerrero celebrates after scoring against Colombia during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Lima, Peru. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

ZURICH — Peru captain Paolo Guerrero will miss the World Cup after being banned by FIFA for one year because of a positive test for cocaine.

The suspension imposed by the FIFA disciplinary committee covers "all types of matches" and was backdated to start on Nov. 3, soccer’s governing body said Friday.

The 33-year-old Guerrero tested positive for "cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine," a banned stimulant, after a World Cup qualifying game in Argentina on Oct. 5.

He can appeal to FIFA to overturn the ban. If that fails, Guerrero and the Peruvian soccer federation have a further legal route at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Guerrero, a striker who plays for Brazilian club Flamengo, was Peru’s top scorer with six goals in World Cup qualifying.

When FIFA provisionally banned Guerrero while prosecuting the case, he missed Peru’s decisive intercontinental playoff win over New Zealand.

Last week, Peru was drawn into a World Cup group with France, Denmark and Australia.

Guerrero’s lawyer, Pedro Fida, told Peru’s RPP Noticias that the sanction is "absurd" and promised to appeal.

"The evidence is clear, and when added to the low concentration of the substance typical of coca leaves there can be no justification under any circumstances for this decision," Fida said.

Peru’s football federation said in a statement that it regrets FIFA’s decision and trusts "Paolo’s personal and professional quality."

"Today we were visited by Paolo’s family and spoke to him with the certainty that football and Peruvians united can overcome adversity," the federation said, adding that it believes Guerrero’s suspension will be overturned on appeal.


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