Rio de Janeiro: Peru captain Paolo Guerrero confirmed that he plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to overturn a doping ban.
FIFA’s appeal committee on Wednesday reduced Guerrero’s one-year suspension to six months citing “the particular degree of fault” after he tested positive for a stimulant, reports Xinhua news agency.
The ruling cleared the way for Guerrero to play in next year’s World Cup in Russia, Peru’s first appearance in football’s showpiece tournament since 1982.
But the 33-year-old, who plays his club football for Brazil’s Flamengo, said he was not satisfied with the decision, which allows him to return to action in May, a month before the World Cup.
“I don’t feel relieved. It’s important for me to keep fighting to prove my innocence,” Guerrero said in a television interview.
“It’s an injustice that I have been penalized because I’ve shown all along that I’m innocent. I’ve proven it and I’ll continue to prove it until I’m absolved.”
Guerrero was banned after the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine was detected in his urine following Peru’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina on October 5.
He subsequently missed Peru’s World Cup intercontinental playoff matches against New Zealand in November, which the Andean nation won 2-0 on aggregate.
Guerrero has denied using cocaine or drinking coca tea and says he was a victim of food or drink contamination.
The former Bayern Munich striker has been capped 85 times for Peru and is the country’s all-time leading scorer with 32 goals.
The 2018 World Cup will be played in Russia from June 14 to July 15. Peru have been drawn in Group C alongside France, Australia and Denmark.