Peru captain Paolo Guerrero cleared to play at Russia World Cup 2018

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero cleared to play at Russia World Cup 2018

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero cleared to play at Russia World Cup 2018

However, less than two weeks after the six-month ban ended in May, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sport's highest tribunal, increased the ban to 14 months, again ruling out of the finals.

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero has been cleared to play at the World Cup by a Swiss supreme court judge.

The 34-year-old striker had tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine following a World Cup qualifier against Argentina in October 2017, leading to Federation Internationale de Football Association banning him for six months.

A Swiss tribunal has now ruled that the extension was "unjustified" and is "provisionally deprived of effect", leaving Guerrero free to play in Russian Federation. That included a letter signed by captains of Peru's three World Cup opponents - France, Denmark and Australia - urging he be allowed to play. It said it would "not object" if a federal judge made a decision to freeze the ban.

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The Peru forward and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) both later appealed to CAS with Guerrero hoping for the ban to be fully lifted and WADA asking for the penalty to be extended.

The 34-year-old had faced a 12 month ban for the offence, which he claimed occurred after drinking contaminated "coca tea".

"FIFPro is delighted that Paolo Guerrero has been successful in his legal battle to play for Peru in the 2018 World Cup".

He appealed the decision, having previously received the support of Hugo Lloris, Simon Kjaer and Mile Jedinak, the captains of Peru's World Cup rivals.

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"Paolo Guerrero has also filed an urgent request for a stay of the execution of the suspension in order to be able to participate in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation". The panel decided a ban to January 2019 was an "appropriate sanction ... in light of Mr Guerrero's degree of fault".

Earlier on Thursday (Friday NZT), CAS - which based less than a kilometre from the federal court in Lausanne - issued a statement saying it would not object if Guerrero was cleared to play in Russian Federation.

Peru were probably the happiest of the 32 finalists on Thursday after veteran Guerrero was cleared to take part in the finals in the latest twist in a long-running saga which has kept the Andean nation on tenterhooks.

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