By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Media
First he was in, then he was out, he appealed, he lost, he appealed again. He played at the World Cup – but now he is out again.
The rollercoaster ride of Peru captain Paulo Guerrero has taken yet another twist with his doping ban, temporarily lifted so he could lead his country in Russia, re-imposed by a Swiss court which ended the freeze on his 14-month sanction.
The Swiss Federal Tribunal has lifted “the provisional suspensive effect” that allowed Guerrero to skipper Peru at the World Cup, FIFA said, in what will be viewed by many as a dangerous precedent in terms of civil courts intervening in football rulings.
The decision means the 34-year-old Guerrero will not be allowed to resume playing with his new club in Brazil, Internacional, for the moment at least.
“FIFA took note of the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal to lift the provisional suspensive effect that had been granted with respect to the sanction imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” FIFA said. “Therefore the suspension imposed by CAS is in place.”
Guerrero, Peru’s all-time top scorer, was originally suspended for a year by FIFA on December 8 after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine following Peru’s 0-0 draw away to Argentina the previous October. He argued the stimulant had not been performance enhancing and was accidentally consumed in contaminated tea.
FIFA reduced the ban to six months, meaning it technically ended in time for him to play at the World Cup in Russia but CAS then upheld an appeal by WADA for a longer sanction.
Two weeks after that urgent CAS ruling, a Swiss federal judge stepped in to rule Guerrero should not be denied a possible “crowning glory” in what was Peru’s first World Cup appearance for 36 years, pending a final decision over his appeal against the CAS ruling that had increased his six-month ban to 14.
The Swiss federal court is now expected to give a final verdict on that shortly.