Peru captain Paolo Guerrero has tested positive for a banned substance and will miss his country’s World Cup qualifying play-off against New Zeland, the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) has confirmed.
Guerrero, 33, was selected for a mandatory doping test after Peru’s 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with Argentina on October 5 and provided an irregular sample.
The Flamengo star has been served with an initial suspension of 30 days by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee and will miss the two crucial matches against New Zealand on November 11 and 16.
He will also miss several matches at club level, with Flamengo involved in the semi-finals of the Copa Sudamericana against Junior Barranquilla of Colombia.
Guerrero – who is Peru’s all-time leading scorer with 33 strikes – has seven days to respond, but could be forced into a lengthy absence if FIFA’s definitive results proving damning.
The FPF made a statement confirming the news on Friday.
It read: “The Peruvian Football Federation informs that, after the match played on October 5, 2017 against Argentina, Paolo Guerrero was subjected to an anti-doping control in accordance with the general protocol established in the preliminary stage of the competition Russia 2018.
“Today [Friday], November 3, at 14:09 local time, the President of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee informed us of the provisional 30-day suspension measure of Paolo Guerrero for an adverse analytical result in the aforementioned control.
“The FPF complies and respects this decision of FIFA and trusts that soon the facts are clarified and… this process is definitively resolved.
“Paolo, captain and leader of our squad, plays a very important role for our squad on and off the pitch thanks to the quality of him as a person, which he has always showed.
“We value his immense contribution to our selection, so the FPF and all of Peru has solidarity with him in these difficult moments.”
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