Gold Cup: Mexico cleared to replace five banned players

Gold Cup - Jose Manuel de la Torre

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MexSport

If the USA face Mexico for the CONCACAF Gold Cup title on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif., the topic is sure to come up again.

Is it fair that Mexico were granted the right to replace the five players suspended earlier in the tournament for positive doping tests conducted outside the competition?

Mexico argued that the five suspended players — Guillermo Ochoa, Francisco Javier Rodríguez, Édgar Dueñas, Antonio Naelson "Sinha" and Christian Bermúdez — inadvertently ingested the banned substance clenbuterol in tainted meat before the Gold Cup even started.

The positive test results emerged during a Gold Cup training camp held in Mexico City in May and the Mexican soccer federation voluntarily withdrew the five players from the competition.

CONCACAF on Sunday ruled that it would permit replacements and allow El Tri to reconstitute their 23-man roster ahead of Wednesday's semifinal against Honduras after the team played its last three matches with an 18-man squad. The regional governing body conducted an investigation, sought advisement from FIFA and made its ruling based on a “case of force majeure as contemplated in the competition regulations.”

Mexico are ready with their the reinforcements. Héctor Reynoso (CD Guadalajara), Paúl Aguilar (Club América) and Hiram Mier (Monterrey) traveled on Monday to join Mexico in Houston.

Meanwhile, Luis Michel (CD Guadalajara) and Marco Fabián de la Mora (CD Guadalajara) will be registered for the competition but will remain with the Mexico Under-22 side that is in training ahead of its participation in the 2011 Copa América. They will only be asked to travel if called upon.