Peru captain Paolo Guerrero appeared before a FIFA disciplinary hearing on Thursday to defend himself over a failed doping test following his country’s World Cup qualifier away to Argentina in October. The hearing lasted around four hours and afterwards Guerrero defied the sleet and freezing weather to sign autographs and pose for selfies with around a dozen Peru fans at the entrance to FIFA headquarters.
The fans waved Peru shirts and flags and chanted “Paolo is innocent”. Peru have qualified for next year’s World Cup in Russia, ending a 36-year-absence from the finals, but Guerrero could face a ban long enough to keep him out of the tournament if found guilty.
Guerrero, who plays his club football with Flamengo in Brazil, is currently serving a provisional 30-day ban which ruled him out of this month’s intercontinental playoff against New Zealand which Peru won 2-0 to qualify for the finals. The 33-year-old, who has scored 32 goals in 83 appearances and has a galvanising presence for his team, has denied wrongdoing.
The draw for the World Cup takes place in Moscow on Friday with Peru in Pot Two. FIFA declined to comment on the case.