CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Despite routing Cuba 5-0 on Thursday to book an early ticket to the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup, the biggest news out of the Mexico camp was the doping scandal that resulted in the suspension of five Tri players.
Héctor González Iñárritu, the Mexican Soccer Federation’s director of national teams, faced the media in a press conference on Thursday and said that the players’ positive results were unfortunate and that there was no negligence from the team’s technical and medical staffs.
“Of course, this is an accident,” Iñárritu said. “There was no negligence and this is a result of us being very strict with ourselves.
“Unfortunately, because of what we believe to be an accident, these players ingested beef tainted with clenbuterol,” he added. “All the players underwent a test because we’re very strict with ourselves – we’re one of the few federations that conduct tests before a competition.”
The Mexican federation received the test results on Wednesday and it was general secretary Decio de María who informed the team of the results during their preparations for Cuba in Charlotte. The FMF took immediate action and suspended starters Guillermo Ochoa and Francisco Rodríguez, as well as reserves Antonio Naelson “Sinha”, Cristian Bermúdez and Édgar Dueñas.
“[The FMF] got the news [Wednesday] night and this morning … we spoke with the players,” said Iñárritu, who explained that because the tests were arranged by the Mexican federation, it gives them the right to carry out an investigation to determine whether or not the meat consumed by the players was tainted with the banned substance.
The five players who tested positive will fly to Los Angeles to undergo new tests in the laboratories of UCLA, who carried out the first set of tests on May 21.
“We’re going to fly to Los Angeles [on Friday] – the five players and I – to go to UCLA to get new tests done,” Iñárritu said. “Surely they’ll turn out negative.”
Mexico will also follow through with their request to the Gold Cup organizing committee to allow them to bring in five players to replace the ones that were suspended.
“The committee will meet [on Friday] with all of the associations involved – El Salvador, Cuba, Costa Rica and Mexico,” said Iñárritu. “We’re adhering to Fair Play so that they may reconsider allowing us to convoke other players. I think we’ll know in 24 hours.”
As far as the Salvadoran Soccer Federations’ threats of asking CONCACAF that the result of their match against Mexico – a convincing 5-0 win by El Tri on Sunday – be annulled, Iñárritu said that the positive drug test results won’t affect that result one bit.
“It can’t be done” he said. “It’s clear that results cannot be changed.”