Lima (AFP) – The president of Peru Martin Vizcarra is backing national team captain Paolo Guerrero’s battle to overturn a doping ban and play at the 2018 World Cup.
Guerrero was slapped with a 14-month ban on Monday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland over a positive cocaine test and will miss the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.
Peru’s head of state announced Wednesday that Guerrero would file an appeal with the Federal Court in Switzerland to fight the ban.
Vizcarra told a press conference the player and his lawyers “will appeal to the Swiss federal court, indicating that the (CAS) ruling did not respect guarantees of due process and demanding its annulment”.
He said the Peruvian embassy in Switzerland “will support the initiatives of the defence of Guerrero before the Swiss federal court to overturn the suspension”.
Guerrero, who plays as a striker for Brazilian giants Flamengo, had been included in Peru’s preliminary 25-man World Cup squad announced on Sunday.
But on Monday CAS, hearing an appeal from the player against a six-month ban for testing positive for traces of cocaine, increased the suspension to 14 months, ruling him out of the World Cup and sidelining him until January 2019.
The setback left Guerrero distraught.
“I’m a victim of injustice. “I didn’t expect it, I’m sad I won’t be playing. They’ve taken my dream away from me,” he said in Lima on Tuesday.
Guerrero was initially banned for one year after traces of the recreational drug, which is on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency, were found in a sample following a World Cup qualifier against Argentina on October 5 last year.
World football’s ruling body FIFA reduced the ban to six months on appeal last December. That ban ended on May 3, making Guerrero eligible to play at the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.
The emblematic Peru captain, however, wanted the ban annulled and appealed against the six-month suspension.
Peru face France, Australia and Denmark in Group C at the World Cup.