LIMA, May 16: Peru captain Paolo Guerrero has hit out the �injustice� of a 14-month doping ban that has ended his dream of appearing at the World Cup in Russia.
�I�m a victim of injustice,� said Guerrero here yesterday, a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland increased a six-month ban for testing positive for traces of cocaine to 14 months.
�I didn�t expect it, I�m sad I won�t be playing. They�ve taken my dream away from me.� Guerrero, who plays as a striker for Brazilian giants Flamengo, had been included in Peru�s preliminary 25-man World Cup squad announced on Sunday.
But less than a week after he attended a CAS hearing in Lausanne hoping to totally annul a six-month suspension, world sport�s top arbitration court increased his sentence to 14 months.
Not only is Guerrero ruled out of the World Cup, but the emblematic skipper will be sidelined until January 2019.
�I�m sad but I�ve come here to face things, because there have been a lot of rumours. I�m a victim of injustice,� Guerrero said here where he was met by hundreds of well-wishers shouting his name and offering messages of support.
�I�m 100 per cent behind the team (Peru). In the good times, and the bad.� Guerrero was initially banned for one year after traces of the drug, which is on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency, were found in a sample following a World Cup qualifier against Argentina on October 5 last year.
World football�s ruling body FIFA reduced the ban to six months on appeal last December. That ban ended on May 3, making Guerrero eligible to play at the June 14-July 15 World Cup in Russia.
The emblematic Peru captain, however, wanted the ban annulled.
He arrived at a CAS hearing last week flanked by lawyers to be met by around 30 flag-waving well-wishers and supporters shouting �You can do it, Paolo!!� But WADA effectively retaliated, appealing to CAS to uphold their original sanction.
CAS noted on Monday: �Both the Player and WADA filed appeals at the CAS. Paolo Guerrero sought to have the FIFA Decision set aside and replaced by a new decision in which no sanction was imposed on him.� � AFP