LIMA (Reuters) - Peru captain and top scorer Paolo Guerrero on Friday asked Switzerland’s highest court to overturn a drugs-related ban that will keep him out of Peru’s first World Cup in 36 years, the Peruvian Football Federation said.
Guerrero had just completed a six-month ban by FIFA after testing positive for a byproduct of cocaine consumption when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) extended the suspension, ruling him out of the World Cup.
Guerrero denies having used cocaine.
The world players’ union FIFPro and the captains of Peru’s World Cup group rivals in Russia next month have appealed to soccer’s world governing body FIFA to lift the ban. Both FIFA and CAS are based in Switzerland.
Guerrero filed an appeal before the Federal Swiss Federal Tribunal with written support from the head of the Peruvian Football Federation, Edwin Oviedo, the federation said.
“He is the unquestioned captain of the Peruvian team and a national emblem of hope for the whole country,” Oviedo said in his sworn statement to the court that the federation published on Twitter.
“I beg with all my heart to take into account not just Paolo’s interest but the entire nation’s,” Oviedo said.
Guerrero has said that benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, was found in his system because of an herbal infusion he drank that was contaminated with coca leaf, an ingredient in cocaine which is also widely used as a non-narcotic traditional remedy in South America.
The players’ union and the captains of Australia, Denmark and France, the three teams drawn to play Peru, have pointed out that CAS itself recognized that Guerrero ingested the substance unknowingly and did not seek to gain an advantage.
Guerrero, 34, unsuccessfully sought amnesty from FIFA president Gianni Infantino during a visit to Switzerland this week.
Reporting by Mitra Taj; editing by Grant McCool