December 22 – Peru captain Paolo Guerrero says he is innocent and will fight to clear his name despite FIFA reducing his doping ban to six months, allowing him to play at next year’s World Cup.
Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a banned stimulant found in cocaine and on WADA’s prohibited list, shortly after Peru’s 0-0 draw with Argentina in their penultimate South American qualifier on July 5, ruling him out of the two-legged Intercontinental playoff against New Zealand.
Guerrero’s legal defense argued the striker’s positive test was as a result of contamination and the FIFA appeals Committee ruled the original sanction by FIFA’s disciplinary panel was too harsh and that six months was an proportionate penalty “after taking into account all circumstances of the case.”
Although the reprieve is a massive boost for Peru, where Guerrero is hero-worshipped, he is by no means satisfied.
“I am not relieved, it’s important to me to keep (fighting) to prove my innocence,” he told Reuters TV. “It really is an injustice that they punished me as I have showed I am innocent all along, I proved it, and we will keep proving it until they absolve me.”
“They cut the legs from under me,” Guerrero added. “I did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org