Paolo Guerrero's suspension for a positive drug test has been reduced from one year to six months, clearing the Peru icon to play at the World Cup.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero had his one-year suspension for a positive drug test reduced to six months, which will allow him to play for Peru as the nation makes its first World Cup appearance since 1982.
Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a banned stimulant found in cocaine, shortly after Peru's 0-0 tie with Argentina in its second-to-last match of CONMEBOL qualifying on Oct. 5. He said the positive test was the result of his taking flu medicine and that the result shocked him. The suspension period officially started on Nov. 3, as that's when FIFA's Disciplinary Committee provisionally suspended Guerrero, so a one-year ban would have kept Guerrero, 33, from playing in the World Cup.
The crux of Guerrero's appeal was that the chemical is found in teas consumed in South America for medicinal purposes.
The FIFA Appeal Committee announced the decision on Wednesday.
"After taking into account all the circumstances of the case, in particular the degree of fault of the player, considered a six-month period of ineligibility to be a proportionate sanction," FIFA's statement read.
Guerrero, who plays his club soccer with Brazilian side Flamengo, scored six goals in the final round of qualifying and is Peru's all-time leading goal scorer with 32 tallies for the national team. He missed Peru's playoff with New Zealand for a World Cup spot due to the suspension, but Peru went on to win 2-0 on aggregate to qualify for Russia 2018.
Peru, which was drawn into Group C with France, Denmark and Australia, opens its World Cup campaign against Denmark on June 16.