France, Denmark and Australia captains appeal to FIFA to allow Paolo Guerrero play at World Cup

Tue, May 22 2018

The captains of the French, Danish and Australian national teams have signed a joint letter appealing to FIFA to show clemency to banned Peru captain Paolo Guerrero.

Hugo Lloris, Simon Kjaer and Mile Jedinak – who lead the three teams set to face Peru in World Cup Group C – issued the missive via the players' union FIFPro.

34-year-old Guerrero was last week banned for 14 months following a positive test for cocaine and the metabolite benzoylecgonine following the play-off first leg draw with New Zealand.

He was originally banned for a year by FIFA, which was later reduced to six months on appeal, meaning he could compete at the World Cup, Peru's first in 36 years.

Last week, however, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) extended the ban to 14 months, despite accepting his explanation that it was unintentionally consumed through contaminated tea.

The latest ruling has prompted protests across Peru and widespread dismay, as it acknowledges the player didn't intentionally ingest the substance with a view to enhancing performance.

The letter reads: “We turn to the FIFA Council and kindly put forward an urgent request for clemency by asking to temporarily interrupt the ban during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“We believe that in the interests of fairness and proportionality, and taking into consideration the exceptional circumstances of the present matter, Paolo who – as everyone agrees did not cheat – will be able to participate.”

The entire letter can be read here.