By GRAHAM DUNBAR
GENEVA (AP) — Peru captain Paolo Guerrero was cleared Thursday by a Swiss supreme court judge to play at the World Cup despite a doping ban.
Switzerland’s supreme court granted an interim order to freeze Guerrero’s 14-month ban for a positive doping test at a World Cup qualifying game.
“As a result, Paolo Guerrero can take part in the next World Cup,” the federal court said.
The judge took into account that, at 34, Guerrero should not miss the first opportunity of his career to play at the World Cup.
Guerrero’s urgent request to the federal court was helped by FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to the court.
“Neither one nor the other was categorically opposed (to him playing),” the court said.
The interim ruling puts the ban imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on hold until full consideration of the case at a later date.
The verdict came four days ahead of FIFA’s Monday deadline for Peru to finalize its 23-man World Cup squad.
Guerrero tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine at a World Cup qualifier against Argentina in October. He argued that the stimulant had not been performance enhancing, and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.
The federal judge agreed with the CAS panel, which also accepted the player’s arguments of not being significantly at fault for the positive test.
However, the CAS judges increased the ban to 14 months, upholding a counter-appeal by WADA. The sports court decided a ban through January 2019 was an “appropriate sanction … in light of Mr. Guerrero’s degree of fault.”
Guerrero’s original six-month ban by FIFA expired on May 3, the same day his appeal was heard at CAS.
Thursday’s victory means the former Bayern Munich player is now set to be captain of Peru in Russia at its first World Cup appearance since 1982. Peru is in a group with France, Denmark and Australia.