Mexico routed Cuba 5-0 in the Gold Cup on Thursday to become the first team to reach the quarter-finals [AFP]

Five Mexican internationals currently taking part in the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament were suspended on Thursday for doping, but later were said to have eaten contaminated meat and should be cleared after a second test, according to a Mexican football official.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who plays for the Mexican side America, defenders Francisco Javier Rodriguez of Dutch side PSV and Edgar Duenas of Mexico's Toluca and midfielders Antonio Naelson of Toluca and Christian Bermudez of Atlante tested positive for the banned drug clenbuterol, after tests carried out in Mexico on May 21.

Clenbuterol can be used to speed up and increase muscle mass in animals.

A number of athletes, including three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, have blamed their positive test results on eating meat adulterated with the steroid.

Tainted meat

Hector Gonzalez, Femexfut's director of national teams, said the players had eaten tainted meat at Mexico's High Performance Centre where the team prepared to defend the Gold Cup.

"Unfortunately, by accident, these players ate beef contaminated with the substance clenbuterol," he told a news conference following Mexico's 5-0 win over Cuba in Group A.

Gonzalez said Mexican farming officials were looking into beef supplies at the centre.

"We're confident that with the investigation that is being carried out we'll be able to clarify (the situation) and reach a happy conclusion," he added.

Femexfut general secretary Decio de Maria said the players, who face bans of up to two years, had all been suspended from the tournament.

Re-testing

Gonzalez said the players would fly to Los Angeles on Friday for another test at the University of California Los Angeles's certified laboratory which would "surely be negative."

"We will ask also for the B samples (of the original tests) to be opened and we will await the results," he added.

Mexico had only 17 players available for their match against Cuba, their second successive 5-0 victory that qualified them for the quarter-finals. Defender Ricardo Osorio left for home earlier in the week due to illness.

Gonzalez said Mexico had appealed to be allowed to call up five replacements, a request that would be dealt with by the organisers at a meeting on Friday.

He added that tournament rules stated the team could not be docked the points of their win against El Salvador last Sunday because the results of the doping tests were unknown when the match was played.

De Maria earlier said there was a health alert in Mexico because of food contaminated with clenbuterol.

Mexico denied in April that its beef contained clenbuterol days after Germany's anti-doping agency advised athletes not to eat products from Mexico because it might increase the risk of involuntary positive doping results.

Source: Agencies