October 12, 2011
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WADA withdraws CAS appeal in case of Mexican footballers

Following consideration of the full file now available to WADA, which consists of information and evidence primarily gathered by FIFA in conjunction with the government of Mexico, WADA has withdrawn its appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the decision not to sanction five Mexican footballers who tested positive for clenbuterol.

The footballers were suspended during the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June and insisted the positive samples were the result of meat they had ingested at a training camp ahead of the tournament.

The Mexican Football Federation decided not to sanction the players and WADA appealed this decision at CAS pending the obtaining of the full files relating to those cases. WADA has subsequently received compelling evidence from a FIFA study at the U17 World Cup in Mexico that indicates a serious health problem in Mexico with regards to meat contaminated with clenbuterol. This is a public health issue that is now being addressed urgently by the Mexican Government.

The government of Mexico - which has legislation forbidding the use of steroids with livestock - accepts that it has an issue with contaminated meat and is actively looking to resolve the problem state by state. Already several arrests have been made pursuant to these laws and large amounts of clenbuterol seized. Investigations are to continue.

WADA applauds FIFA for the further research it has initiated, while WADA, the Mexican Football Federation and the Mexican Government have agreed to assist with the study which will continue as a joint project.

In the meantime, WADA’s message to athletes travelling to Mexico remains the same, and that is to exercise extreme caution with regards to what they eat and where they eat.

If possible, they should eat in cafeterias designated as safe by event organizers and also try to eat in large numbers. The state government in Guadalajara has taken steps to ensure the meat available to athletes at the Pan American Games will not be contaminated.

Clenbuterol remains a prohibited substance and WADA will approach and study any positive case on an individual basis.