Paolo Guerrero Cleared to Play World Cup

Paolo Guerrero

Paolo Guerrero

Russia's first-ever FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15 in 11 host cities.

Guerrero was banned after testing positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, following Peru's World Cup qualifier with Argentina in October past year, though he claimed this was unintentional and was the result of taking a herbal remedy.

Peru won a play-off against New Zealand in November to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1982.

Head coach Ricardo Gareca now has until June 4 to name Guerrero in his squad, pending any further developments.

In October, Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine - the main metabolite of cocaine, something he has said is the result of drinking coca tea. CAS has already said it would "not object" a federal judge freezing the ban, so it looks like there should not be any more telenovela-like surprises. "There are no impossible dreams, as it has been proved that when Peruvians are united, everything is possible".

Cas had imposed the ban this month, upholding an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

That included a letter signed by captains of Peru's three World Cup opponents - France, Denmark and Australia - urging he be allowed to play.

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.

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.

Guerrero's original six-month ban by Federation Internationale de Football Association expired on May 3, the same day his appeal was heard at CAS.

Initially banned for a year, this was later reduced to six months on appeal last December.

That effectively ruled him out of action until January 2019, and Guerrero was suspended by his Brazilian club, Flamengo.

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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