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Mexico Suspends Five Soccer Players, Reaches Gold Cup Final 8

Mexico qualified for the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup hours after suspending five national soccer team players for testing positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol.

Antonio Naelson, Christian Bermudez, Edgar Duenas, Francisco Javier Rodriguez and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa tested positive during a training camp in Mexico before the Gold Cup, tournament organizer Concacaf said on its website last night, citing Mexico team press officer Juan Jose Kotchen.

Concacaf, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, will hold a meeting today to discuss the issue and decide whether Mexico can replace the suspended players.

The five may have inadvertently ingested the substance, Concacaf said. Clenbuterol is used to treat respiratory disorders such as asthma and can increase aerobic capacity by improving the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream. Farmers sometimes use it illegally to bulk up cattle more quickly.

Germany’s anti-doping agency in April advised soccer players attending this month’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico to avoid eating meat because of the widespread use of clenbuterol by farmers.

“As far as possible the consumption of meat products should be omitted,” the German agency said at the time.

Mexico followed a 5-0 victory against El Salvador on June 5 with a win by the same score line over Cuba last night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

Mexico will face Cost Rica on June 12 at Soldier Field in Chicago after games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cycling’s ruling body is challenging a decision not to ban three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador after he failed a test for clenbuterol at last year’s race. The Union Cycliste Internationale is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, sport’s highest tribunal.

Contador blames eating contaminated beef for the positive test.

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