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FIFA And CONCACAF Allow Mexico To Replace Five Suspended Players

FIFA and CONCACAF will allow Mexico to replace the five players  who have been suspended for doping on their Gold Cup roster. After the team's first match of the tournament, the Mexican Football Federation suspended Fransisco 'Maza' Rodriguez, Guillermo 'Memo' Ochoa, Edgar Dueñas, Sinha and Christian 'Hobbit' Bermudez for failing a doping test. Ever since, Mexico has played short on players, but FIFA and CONCACAF have determined that they can replace those five players on the roster for the remainder of the tournament.

"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," FIFA Secretary Jerome Valcke said at a press conference in Mexico City. "FIFA will authorize, if [the FMF] 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."

FIFA has yet to make a determination as to whether the positive test was intentional or, as the FMF have said, a matter of tainted meat. While that is sorted out, FIFA will not rule on the length of the punishment for the five players beyond the remainder of the Gold Cup.

Prior to the positive tests, Mexico was already played down a man because Ricardo Orsorio left the team to receive treatment for an illness. His absence, along with the five suspended players, forced Mexico to play with 17 men in the last two Gold Cup matches, one short of the number needed for a full bench. The FMF have yet to announce which players they will call in to replace the suspended five.

Mexico won Group A with three dominating wins that saw them outscore their opponents, 14-1. They will play Guatemala in the quarterfinals on Saturday in East Rutherford, NJ and are considered the favorites to win the final on June 25 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.