The 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicked off today in Moscow, will be Paolo Guerrero’s first.
He is the captain of Peru’s football team and it will be the country’s first World Cup in 36 years. Yet for months it was feared that Guerrero would not be able to play due to his 14-month ban for testing positive for the metabolite benzoylecgonine, found in cocaine.
World Anti-Doping Code
Cocaine is included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2017 Prohibited List under the class S6 Substances and it is prohibited in competition, not out of competition. It is a stimulant frequently associated with recreation rather than performance enhancement, and when athletes test positive, their stories typically recount their night out. Sometimes the cocaine enters their system through unexpected circumstances such as a kiss with a stranger who has taken the drug.
Testing positive for cocaine in competition and a resulting breach of the WADC can result in a four-year ban under Article 10.2 of the Code if it can be established that the anti-doping rule violation was intentional. This means the athlete engaged in conduct which he/she “knew constituted an anti-doping rule violation or knew that there was a significant risk that the conduct might constitute or result in an anti-doping rule violation and manifestly disregarded that risk.” If not intentional, the period of ineligibility will be two years under Article 10.2.2.
Yet the period of ineligibility can be eliminated if Article 10.4 of the Code is satisfied, being the athlete establishes “that he or she bears No Fault or Negligence.” This is defined as the athlete “establishing that he or she did not know or suspect, and could not reasonably have known or suspected even with the exercise of utmost caution, that he or she had Used or been administered the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method or otherwise violated an anti-doping rule.”
If this is not satisfied, under Article 10.5 the athlete can instead claim a reduction of their period of ineligibility if he or she establishes “No Significant Fault of Negligence”. This is defined as the athlete “establishing that his or her Fault or negligence, when viewed in the totality of the circumstances and taking into account the criteria for No Fault or Negligence, was not significant in relationship to the anti-doping rule violation.”