WADA drops doping case vs Mexico soccer players

Five Mexican soccer players who tested positive for clenbuterol

before the Gold Cup will not face sanctions after FIFA determined

the tests were caused by contaminated meat.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday it had dropped its

appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where it planned to

challenge a Mexico Football Federation decision clearing the

players of doping.

WADA said it accepted FIFA’s ”compelling evidence” from the

recent Under-17 World Cup in Mexico that the country has a

”serious health problem” with meat contaminated with

clenbuterol.

”WADA applauds FIFA for the further research it has

initiated,” the anti-doping watchdog said in a statement.

FIFA gathered the evidence while working with the government of

Mexico.

”The studies conducted by FIFA showed the correctness of the

footballers’ claim that the positive samples were the result of

meat they had ingested at a training camp ahead of the

tournament,” the governing body of international soccer said.

Mexico won the Gold Cup in June despite the absence of

goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, defenders Edgar Duenas and Francisco

Rodriguez, and midfielders Antonio Naelson and Christian Bermudez.

It beat the United States 4-2 in the final.

WADA said Mexico’s government has agreed to address the issue of

farmers giving steroids to livestock, which is illegal.

”Already several arrests have been made pursuant to these laws

and large amounts of clenbuterol seized. Investigations are to

continue,” WADA said.

WADA issued a warning to athletes traveling to Mexico to compete

at the two-week Pan American Games, which open Friday in

Guadalajara.

”If possible, they should eat in cafeterias designated as safe

by event organizers and also try to eat in large numbers,” WADA

advised. ”The state government in Guadalajara has taken steps to

ensure the meat available to athletes at the Pan American Games

will not be contaminated.”

The Mexican case is the second time this year that WADA has

dropped an appeal after an athlete used a defense of contaminated

meat to explain consuming clenbuterol.

German table tennis player Dimitrij Ovtcharov tested positive

after competing in China, which also has long-standing issues with

illegally feeding steroids to livestock.

Three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will use the

same argument as part of his defense at CAS next month.

WADA and the International Cycling Union appealed to the sports

court after a Spanish cycling federation tribunal accepted

Contador’s explanation that he inadvertently ate a contaminated

steak during his 2010 Tour victory.

Contador’s four-day hearing is scheduled to begin Nov. 21.