LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Peru captain Paolo Guerrero appeared before sport’s highest tribunal on Thursday to appeal against a six-month doping ban and defend himself against a request for the same suspension to be increased.
As it stands, Guerrero will be able to play at the World Cup in Russia next month but he would miss out if a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) request for a stiffer sentence is accepted.
Peru have qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and face Denmark, France and Australia in their first-round group.
Around one dozen Peru fans were waiting at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) headquarters as Guerrero, who plays for Brazilian club Flamengo, arrived for Thursday’s hearing.
Guerrero was suspended for a year by world football’s governing body FIFA on Dec. 8 after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine after Peru’s 0-0 draw away to Argentina in October.
FIFA then reduced the ban to six months and back-dated the start of the suspension period to Nov. 3, the day when he was provisionally banned. He is due to make his comeback in the Brazilian championship match against Internacional on Sunday.
Guerrero, who has protested his innocence throughout, wants the ban quashed completely while WADA has also appealed and asked CAS to increase the sentence to between one and two years.
There was no immediate comment from CAS on when the ruling would be announced. However, such decisions can take anything from a few days to several months.
Guerrero has scored 32 goals for Peru and helped them finish third in the 2011 and 2015 Copa Americas when he was leading scorer in both tournaments.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, Editing by William Maclean