BUENOS AIRES – FIFA said Saturday that a total of five North Korean players have tested positive for steroids at the women's World Cup, football's biggest doping scandal at a major tournament in 17 years.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that after two players were caught during the tournament earlier this month, FIFA tested the rest of the North Korean squad and found that three more tested positive.
''This is a shock,'' Blatter told a news conference. ''You can hear this emotion in my voice.''
The last doping case at a major event came at the men's 1994 World Cup in the United States, when Diego Maradona was kicked out after testing positive for stimulants.
Colombia's reserve goalkeeper Yineth Varon has meanwhile been suspended for failing an out-of-competition test just before the World Cup in the wake of undergoing hormonal treatment.
FIFA has already met with a North Korean delegation and heard arguments that the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines based on musk glands to treat players who had been struck by lightning on June 8 during a training camp.
The case will now be taken up by FIFA's disciplinary committee. Blatter said the federation had already apologized for the scandal.
Defenders Song Jong Sun and Jong Pok Sim tested positive for steroids after North Korea's first two group games and were suspended for the last match. The team was eliminated in the first round after losses to the United States and Sweden and a draw with Colombia.