DAVID SMITH - Friday, June 10, 2011
The Mexican Soccer Federation has suspended five players from the team's Gold Cup squad with immediate effect after they tested positive for a banned substance in a pre-tournament training camp.

It was announced on Thursday by the Mexican Soccer Federation spokesman Juan Jose Kotchen that star keeper Guillermo Ochoa and starting central defender Francisco Rodriguez were suspended from the Gold Cup squad along with bench defender Edgar Duenas and midfielders Christian Bermudez and Edgar Duenas.

The five players all tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, which is used to alleviate breathing disorders, but has also gained notoriety as a performance enhancing drug through a number of recent instances in various sports.

The positive results stemmed from tests initially taken during the team's pre-tournament training camp in late-May, however due to the lengthy process to detect the particular substance, results were only available at this date.

Kotchen suggested that the presence of clenbuterol resulted from the players consuming contaminated meat products, which were found throughout Mexico in recent months.

The five players were immediately declared ineligible for Mexico's Thursday-night Group A game against Cuba, in which the team cruised to a 5-0 win despite the drama, however the full fallout of the results will be determined in a special meeting of CONCACAF's national teams committee.

The meeting will determine whether Mexico will be allowed a special dispensation to replace the five players on the roster since the test occurred prior to the start of the Gold Cup, or if any further sanctions will be assessed to the individual players or to the Mexican team as a whole.

Ochoa and Rodriguez were the only players amongst the five to start in Mexico's 5-0 thrashing of El Salvador to open group play. The suspensions along with the departure of defender Ricardo Osario on medical grounds provisionally leaves the squad with only 15 outfield players for the tournament, and particularly short-handed in the back with only four available defenders remaining.