I was on the air with Daniel Feuerstein to preview the Gold Cup earlier this year, and I joked with him that Mexico would be fine, provided they would survive the inevitable crisis that would hit them in the first round.
Sure enough, Mexico was hit with a doping scandal that separated 5 players from the team: Memo Ochoa, Edgar Dueñas, Antonio Naelson, Hobbit Bermudez, and Maza Rodriguez. FMF had argued that one of the meals they had eaten together was tainted with Clembuterol, an additive that on WADA's no-no list, and whose use is prevalent in the Mexican ranching industry. It turned out that FMF procured its meat from a re-seller who could not necessarily guarantee if their product was free of any illegal substances because, well, they were re-sellers.
Mexico's main sporting governing board exonerated the players, but WADA still wanted to ban the 5 players in question for 2 years. They moved forward to have the Court of Arbitration for Sport make a judgement.
They have withdrawn their request. A statement on their website details the reasons for their withdrawal.
WADA cited evidence of the problem from a study conducted during FIFA's U17 World Cup that shows just how widespread the use of Clembuterol is. With the Pan American Games slated to start in Guadalajra this week, WADA is urging participating athletes to not venture from the cafeteria, where organizers have designated the meals as safe.
In other words, no matter how tempting, don't eat at the taco stands while in the Perla Tapatia.
It's great news for the players in question, obviously, who are now 100% exonerated, and perhaps this is the first step to eliminating the use of Clembuterol in the Mexican ranching industry. Legislation has been introduced to do just that.
It's not often that we compliment FMF around here. They did not have to report their findings for the anti-doping tests they conducted. In past years, the results may never have left the bottom left drawer. But they did the right thing, and if it turns out this can effect change in the way food is processed in their country, terrific. If not, then I am sure they have learned their lesson and will now associate themselves with companies who can guarantee the safety of their products.
Here's hoping Mexico can limit their inevitable crises to the on-the-field variety from here on out.