Mexico cleared to replace banned quintet

NEW YORK - Mexico have been given permission to replace the five players who were suspended from the CONCACAF Gold Cup for failing out-of-competition doping tests.

The Mexican Football Federation (Femexfut) has denied their players did anything wrong, saying they tested positive for a banned anabolic agent after eating contaminated meat, and asked that they be replaced for the rest of the tournament.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup Organising Committee announced on Sunday it had agreed, after consulting with the sport's world governing body, that Mexico be allowed to replace the players while the case is continuing.

"Based on the specific facts of this case, and on FIFA's advice on the matter, the situation at hand is a case of force majeure as contemplated in the competition regulations," CONCACAF said in a statement.

"Therefore the Mexican national team shall be permitted to replace the five... players with up to five other players for the remainder of the competition.'

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, defenders Francisco Rodriguez and Edgar Duenas, and midfielders Sinha and Christian Bermudez all tested positive for clenbuterol and were suspended from the regional tournament.

Femexfut attributed the positive results to ingestion of clenbuterol in meat eaten by the players when on a training camp in Mexico to prepare for the Gold Cup and has conducted independent tests they hope will exonerate them.

Despite being five players down since the opening match of the tournament, Mexico remain undefeated and are safely through to the semi-finals, against Honduras, in Texas this week.