Peru captain Paolo Guerrero is almost certain to feature at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia after the 12-month he received for testing positive for cocaine was halved on appeal.
The 33-year old striker tested positive for cocaine following the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Argentina earlier on October 6.
The drug ban was dated from when he was provisionally suspended (November 3) meaning that Peru’s record goalscorer can now return to action in May, after serving his 6-month ban, just before the World Cup in June.
Confirming the latest development, a FIFA spokesman said: “The Fifa Appeal Committee decided to partially uphold the appeal lodged by the Peruvian international player Paolo Guerrero. The initial period of ineligibility of one year imposed against the player has been reduced to six months.”
Flamengo of Brazil star Guerrero, who has scored 32 goals in 86 appearances for Peru, will be expected to feature for his country following their return to the tournament.
Peru saw off New Zealand over two legs in a play-off in November to qualify for Russia 2018, their first appearance in 36 years (1982).
When news of his provisional suspension became public knowledge on November 3, the Peruvian Football Federation thanked Guerrero for his “immense contribution” and said the country stood with him in “solidarity” during “difficult moments”.