World Cup captains urge FIFA to reconsider Guerrero ban
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The captains of Peru's World Cup Group C rivals have signed a letter to FIFA asking that banned striker Paolo Guerrero be allowed to play in football's flagship tournament in Russia this summer.
France's Hugo Lloris, Australia's Mile Jedinak and Denmark's Simon Kjaer signed the letter sent by world football players union FIFPro to the sport's governing body on Monday.
"Peru is returning to football's ultimate stage after a 36-year absence and we believe Paolo Guerrero should be allowed to lead his nation and celebrate what will be a career highlight," the letter read.
Guerrero, who is Peru's captain, tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine while representing his country in a World Cup qualifier against Argentina last October. The 34-year-old says he unwittingly consumed the substance in contaminated tea.
Despite accepting that Guerrero did not take the drug to gain a sporting advantage, the Court of Arbitration for sport last week extended the 34-year-old's ban from six to 14 months after an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The new ruling bars the former Bayern Munich player from all football-related activities until next January.
"In our view, it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career - an achievement he has worked so hard for, and for so many years - on the basis of a finding which confirms that he did not intend to cheat and did not intend to enhance his performance with prohibited substances," the letter continued.
"As such, we turn to the FIFA Council and kindly put forward an urgent request for clemency by asking the FIFA Council to temporarily interrupt the ban imposed on Paolo Guerrero during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the suspension to recommence at the conclusion of Peru's participation in the competition."
On Sunday, Guerrero published a social media post expressing hope that he could still play in the World Cup, which begins on June 14.[ Editor: WPY ]