Infantino feels 'deep understanding' of Guerrero ordeal

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- World football governing body FIFA on Tuesday appeared to rule out any chance that banned Peru captain Paolo Guerrero will play at the World Cup in Russia.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he felt "deep understanding" of Guerrero's situation but indicated he could do little to overturn a decision by sport's highest tribunal.

The comments followed a meeting between Infantino and Guerrero in Zurich as the 34-year-old striker pleaded his case to be allowed to play in football's flagship tournament, which starts on June 14.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine while representing his country in a World Cup qualifier against Argentina last October. He 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 his 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.

"Gianni Infantino expressed his deep understanding of Guerrero's disappointment in not being able to join the Peruvian squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup," FIFA said in a statement.

"However, the FIFA President also stressed the fact that the sanction had been imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after an appeal lodged against a decision of an independent FIFA judicial body."

On Monday it was revealed that the captains of Peru's World Cup Group C rivals - Australia, France, and Denmark - signed a letter asking FIFA to reconsider the ban.

The letter, sent by players union FIFPro, said the punishment did not fit the crime and called for the ban to be temporarily lifted for the World Cup.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]


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