BUENOS AIRES - Mexico have been hit by their second scandal this month after eight players in the country's Copa America squad were suspended for six months for indiscipline by the national football federation (FEMUXFUT ).
The players were caught breaching disciplinary rules at a Quito hotel where the squad were staying on the way to the Copa America in Argentina which starts on Friday.
The players involved are forwards Marco Fabian de la Mora, Javier Cortes and Nestor Calderon, midfielders Jonathan dos Santos (pictured), Jorge Hernandez and David Cabrera and defenders Nestor Vidrio and Israel Jimenez.
"The players will be suspended for the next six months from any national team call-ups," Hector Gonzalez, director of national teams for FEMUXFUT, told a news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Those suspended, part of the under-23 squad including five over-age players due to take part in the July 1-24 Copa America as a guest team, were in Ecuador for a warm-up match.
Mexican media reported the players told coach Luis Fernando Tena they had belongings stolen from their rooms at the Quito hotel where the players had invited female guests.
"We reported the losses to the hotel [and] later found out how it had happened," he said without elaborating at a news conference at the team's Copa America base outside Buenos Aires.
Hotel manager Robert Ramia told the Ecuadorean news programme Ecuavisa "we have video [footage] of women entering the rooms area of the hotel with the Mexican team kit-man."
Gonzalez said: "I'm not going to give details of the facts, regulations were breached and indiscipline committed.
"The players confessed, they regret it, offer their apologies to the fans, coaching staff and directors and assume the consequences of their acts."
The players have also been fined 50,000 Mexican pesos ($4,205) each.
The suspended players were leaving for Mexico on Tuesday with eight replacements flying into Buenos Aires on Wednesday with Gonzalez, who said Mexico had been given permission to make changes to the squad before handing in their official list.
The replacements have been named as defenders Kristian Alvarez and Osvaldo Alanis, midfielders Ulises Davila, Diego de Buen, Edgar Pacheco, Antonio Gallardo and Carlos Orrantia and forward Alan Pulido.
Tena, Gold Cup coach Jose Manuel de la Torre's right hand man who is in charge of the team in Argentina, said he was surprised and upset by what had happened.
"It's lamentable, I didn't expect it, I was surprised.
"Now we must start [preparations] again," said Tena, a tense look on his face revealing little as he added he was pleased with the build-up during which Mexico beat Colombia and Ecuador.
It is the second scandal to hit Mexico in less than a month after five squad members at the Gold Cup, which the Mexicans won by beating hosts the United States 4-2 in the final on Saturday, were suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.
FEMUXFUT has set out to prove that the five players, tested at Mexico's training centre in mid-May, ate meat contaminated with clenbuterol, a substance used to speed up and increase muscle mass in animals.
Mexico were also embroiled in a case of indiscipline last September when Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez were suspended for six months and a dozen others fined over a late-night party at the team hotel in Monterrey after a friendly with Colombia.comments