GOLD CUP: Mexico can replace quintet?

FIFA has given Mexico permission to replace the five players suspended after failing doping tests, although when and if they'll actually do so remains uncertain.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said in a news conference in Mexico that the quintet, which tested positive for banned muscle-builder clenbuterol in May 21 tests, won't be allowed to rejoin El Tri for the remainder of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after second tests, conducted last week at UCLA's drug-testing laboratory, came up negative.

"There’s a certain level of drug in the bloodstream, and FIFA’s decision to agree with [the World Anti-Doping Agency] is that that these players can’t play at this time," Valcke said, according to a report on Major League Soccer's website. "FIFA will authorize, if [the Mexican federation] so wishes, that the five players be replaced because it's very difficult to see if this was a question of tainted food or if it was intentional."

Mexico, which meets Guatemala in a Gold Cup quarterfinal Saturday in East Rutherford, N.J., has had just 17 players available since starting goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Francisco Javier Rodriguez and reserve defender Edgar Dueñas and midfielders Antonio "Zinha" Naelson and Christian "Hobbit" Bermudez were suspended by Federacion Mexicana de Futbol after the first group game. Defender Ricardo Osorio left the team because of a urinary-tract infection and has not returned.

El Tri officials initially suggested tainted beef or chicken could have caused the positive tests during Mexico's pre-tournament training camp outside Mexico City.

Valcke said there would be further investigation of the tests, and director of national teams Hector Gonzalez Iñarritu told Medio Tiempo, a sports website, that no changes to the roster could be made until Federacion Mexicana de Futbol received written confirmation of Valcke's remarks.