Mexico ready to defend doping decision

The Mexico Football Federation is ready to defend its decision

to clear five players who tested positive for the anabolic agent

clenbuterol in training for the Gold Cup.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said last week it would challenge

the federation’s decision not to ban the five players. The

federation argues that contaminated meat caused the positive

tests.

WADA has appealed the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport

in Switzerland. No date has been set for a hearing.

”In our matter, it’s a clear case of contamination,” Mexico

secretary general Decio De Maria said. ”The facts in our country

support this.”

De Maria, citing Mexican health officials, said 66.7 percent of

blood and urine samples taken from cattle showed positive

results.

”Clenbuterol contamination in beef is getting more frequent,”

De Maria said. ”This is what happened and why there were no

sanctions. It is going to be a long, expensive case but we are

certain our decision was correct faced with contamination like

this. This is an accident and it should not be punished under the

doping code.”

The five internationals tested positive for the banned anabolic

agent at a May training camp before the Gold Cup.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, defenders Edgar Duenas and Francisco

Rodriguez, and midfielders Antonio Naelson and Christian Bermudez

were suspended in June during the Gold Cup and were dropped the

squad, then had their suspensions lifted a month later.

The Mexico case is WADA’s second high-profile challenge to a

legal defense of eating tainted meat.

WADA and the International Cycling Union appealed to CAS after

2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador blamed contaminated

steak for his clenbuterol positive, and was exonerated by the

Spanish cycling federation. That case is scheduled to be heard in

November.

The World Anti-Doping Code typically requires suspensions of up

to two years for first-time offenses, or four years in cases of

systematic doping programs.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said last week at the Under-20 World

Cup in Colombia that he backed Mexican officials’ decision to

excuse their players.

Mexico President Felipe Calderon has acknowledged that

contamination with clenbuterol is a problem in the country, where

it is used to bulk up livestock.