Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Swiss Federal Tribunal has refused a request that a 14-month ban applicable to Paolo Guerrero should be temporarily lifted allowing him to play for Internactional, which signed the Peruvian captain in August. Guerrero tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, following a doping control after Peru’s 0-0 draw with Argentina in a Russia 2018 qualifying match on 5 October 2017. He was initially sanctioned with a one year ban by FIFA in December 2017, however the FIFA Appeals Committee later reduced this to six months.
On 13 April, Guerrero and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) filed appeals against the sanction, which Guerrero sought to have reduced so he could compete in the World Cup, and WADA sought to increase. On 14 May, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) increased Guerrero’s suspension to 14 months, finding that although it agreed with the FIFA Appeals Committee’s finding that his positive test was caused by ingestion of tea containing the prohibited substance, he was responsible for some degree of fault or negligence.
This CAS decision has also been appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal by Guerrero, and a final verdict has yet to be issued (case 4A_318/2018). On 31 May, the Tribunal decided that as his case remained subject to appeal, his ban should be lifted to allow him to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Following the conclusion of the World Cup, the ban was re-imposed.
Today’s decision rejects a similar appeal to have his ban temporarily lifted to allow him to play for Internacional, but does not represent a final ruling on his case, which has yet to be issued. ‘It should be noted that the appellant cannot avail himself of the interest that his new club has in counting on him to help it win the national title, since the club in question (SC Internacional Porto Alegre) could not have been unaware of the risks to which it was exposed by concluding an employment contract with a footballer under a suspension measure that had only been lifted as a special circumstance’, read a 27 September order.
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