Gold Cup: Mexico allowed to replace suspended players

FIFA has given CONCACAF the green light to allow Mexico to replace the five players who were separated from the Gold Cup squad last week after a test for banned substances conducted by the Mexican Soccer Federation on May 21 came back positive.

According to a statements from FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke in a press conference in Mexico, the substitution of Guillermo Ochoa, Francisco Rodríguez, Antonio Naelson “Sinha,” Edgar Dueñas and Christian Bermúdez on the squad remains at the hands of the FMF, but the organization is permitted to do so.

“There’s a certain level of drug in the bloodstream and FIFA’s decision to agree with WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] is that that these players can’t play at this time,” said Valcke. “FIFA will authorize, if [the Mexican federation] so wishes, that the five players be replaced because it’s very difficult to see if this was a question of tainted food or if it was intentional.”

Nevertheless, Héctor González Iñárritu confirmed to Mediotiempo.com that no document confirming Valcke’s statement has arrived and, therefore, El Tri cannot yet call upon five new players.

In regards to the punishment the five suspended players will receive, Valcke stated that the investigations based upon the players’ recent tests — which came back negative — must stay underway. In the meantime, the FMF has been asked to keep the players separated from the rest of the squad.

“First of all, I won’t speak on behalf of the FMF,” Valcke said. “As in life, a person must be proven guilty before being punished, so we must await the results and then these persons will face a sanction [if guilty].”

Mexico currently have just 17 players in camp. In addition to the suspended quintet, right back Ricardo Osorio left the squad due to illness.