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 approved the move and was asking CONCACAF, the regional governing body, to implement it, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Friday at the Under-17 World Cup.
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 also has blamed contaminated beef for his positive test for clenbuterol last July.
Mexican agriculture officials have put the claim in doubt, saying 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. Despite missing its top players, Mexico has been the leading team in its group.