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06/09/2011

Doping scandal for soccer stars

CONCACAF Mexico El Sa_Nost
Either way, it’s bad news.

The Mexican Soccer Federation has just announced that five players on the national team tested positive for doping. The suspected substance is clenbuterol, a stimulant banned by most sports federations.

According to Decio de María, the head of the federation, the positive doping test results may have been because the players ate contaminated meat between May 17 and 20. The players affected and the teams they play for are Antonio Naelson Sinha, Edgar Dueñas (Toluca), Christian Bermudez (Atlante), Francisco Rodríguez (PSV Eindhoven) and Guillermo Ochoa (América). Thankfully, the biggest stars, like Chicharito with his back to the camera in the photo above, are not, er, tainted.

One has to give the federation chief the benefit of the doubt. Clenbuterol has been banned for nearly half a decade, and tests for its presence are widely used. What sports star would be nuts enough to use it? 

But then again, those of us living in Mexico (at least me) don’t favor the other possibility: meat is contaminated here. If farmers are spiking their animal feed with clenbuterol, what else are they putting in it? Clenbuterol, which is also banned for animals, speeds up muscle production and makes meat leaner.

When I lived in China last decade, there were several cases of pork found with clenbuterol, not to mention milk laced with poisonous melamine.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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