Peru has been handed a major psychological boost ahead of the FIFA World Cup with skipper Paolo Guerrero having his drugs ban lifted again.
Guerrero was set to miss the tournament in Russia after being handed a 12-month ban after testing positive to cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine in October last year.
The suspension was halved by FIFA on appeal, clearing him to play at the FIFA World Cup, only for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to appeal that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
CAS extended the ban to 14 months which again ruled the 34-year-old out of the tournament – which is Peru’s first outing in a FIFA World Cup in 36 years.
However, another appeal to a Swiss Federal Court has again seen his ban temporarily lifted, clearing him to re-join the squad for Russia.
"This decision does justice, at least partially, and commits my thanks to the Swiss Court,” Guerrero said in an official statement on Peru’s Twitter feed.
The former Bayern Munich and Hamburg forward, who currently plays for Brazilian side Flamengo, went on to mention the support he had received from his Peru team-mates, the FPF and its president Edwin Oviedo, and his gratitude to "millions of compatriots" and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Senior players from Peru’s Group C opponents – including the Caltex Socceroos' Mile Jedinak – had earlier sent a letter to FIFA asking them to allow Guerrero to play at the FIFA World Cup.
The World football players’ union, FIFpro, also took on Guerrero’s case.
"FIFPro is delighted that Paolo Guerrero has been successful in his legal battle to play for Peru in the 2018 World Cup,” the organisation said in a statement following the verdict.
"Along with many professional footballers around the world, we strongly believe that Guerrero's 14-month sanction for unknowingly ingesting a banned substance is unfair and disproportionate.
"Both FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed that Guerrero did not intend to cheat. Nor, they both agreed, was there any performance-enhancing effect.
"While Guerrero has won a temporary reprieve from the Swiss federal court, it is unfortunate that he has to endure such a protracted legal wrangle that is still not over.”
Peru opens their FIFA World Cup campaign against Denmark on June 17 (AEST).
The South Americans play the Caltex Socceroos in the third match of the group on June 27.
Is Group C at the FIFA World Cup becoming the friendly group? The Danes are certainly hoping so.
After Peru sent a special video last month to their opponents in Russia reminding them just who they are, Denmark have responded with their own special message back at their South American counterparts.
WATCH THE VIDEO IN THE TWEET BELOW
“Now we and @SeleccionPeru have shared a lot of love and our passion for football, but we really like you guys too! Are you with us in making our World Cup Group the #TheFriendlyGroup?” Denmark’s official Twitter account asks.
Aussies Abroad: EFL Cup wrap
It might be early in the English football calendar but with the English Football League Cup commencing this morning, the season’s first silverware is now on the radar for the 92 participating clubs. Several Australian players were in action during a round one that saw multiple
Joeys squad selected for final training camp in Melbourne
Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan has named a 26-player squad for a training camp in Melbourne next week (13-19 August) as they prepare for the upcoming AFC U16 Championship in Malaysia which will be held later this year. Morgan is looking forward to working with the players agai
Mixed news for Caltex Socceroos duo in Champions League qualifying
Milos Degenek’s Red Star Belgrade are still alive in their bid to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League, but there was heartbreak for Tom Rogic’s Celtic. After a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg, Celtic lost 2-1 against Greek side AEK Athens on Wednesday morning to
Young Socceroos set for kick off in 2018 SBS Cup
A selection of Australia’s finest U18 footballers commence their 2018 SBS Cup campaign in Japan tomorrow evening. Ante Milicic’s side take on the host nation at Fujieda Stadium at 7.30pm kick off (AEST). AUSSIES ABROAD: Maclaren, Vukovic impress in Europe READ: Why Rene