June 1: Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa makes a save during the second half of an international friendly match against New Zealand in Denver. The Mexican football federation said on Thursday, June 9, 2011, five players from its national team, including Ochoa, tested positive for banned substances and have been removed from the squad playing in the Gold Cup.AP
MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico will be allowed to replace the five players who have been dropped from the Gold Cup squad after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Friday.
Valcke said in Mexico at the Under-17 World Cup that the world governing body had approved the move and was asking CONCACAF, the regional governing body, to implement it.
The five players and the Mexican federation are blaming the positive tests on contaminated meat. The players involved are defenders Francisco Rodriguez and Edgar Duenas, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, and midfielders Christian Bermudez and Antonio Naelson.
''Given that we still don't know if it was an accident or not, FIFA has authorized CONCACAF to allow Mexico to replace these five players at the Gold Cup,'' Valcke said. ''It isn't a very effective drug, and that's why this case raises so many questions.''
Valcke said the five players would be kept from playing until an investigation is completed.
''It's very strange to see so many players testing positive for a substance like this at the same time, but both FIFA and WADA have decided that these footballers cannot play for the time being,'' Valcke added.
The players and some officials have blamed the positive results, which occurred during a pre-tournament training camp in May on the outskirts of Mexico City, on contaminated meat.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has also blamed contaminated beef for his positive test for clenbuterol last July.
Mexican agriculture officials have put the claim in doubt, saying very few cases of contamination exist.
However, Mexico President Felipe Calderon has acknowledged that contamination is a problem in the country.
Mexico plays a quarterfinal against Guatemala on Saturday in New Jersey and, despite missing its top players, has been the leading team in its group.