The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced yesterday that it has dropped its appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where it was going to challenge the Mexican Football Federation’s decision to clear the five members of El Tri who tested positive for clenbuterol at last summer’s Gold Cup.
WADA issued the statement after accepting FIFA’s determination that the players tested positive because their Twitter accounts were hacked they ate meat tainted with the steroid.
There are just two problems with this outcome, as we see it.
First, FIFA made its determination after “working with the government of Mexico.”
Nothing against the government of Mexico, but, well, soccer is a huge point of pride in that nation, and a pastime deeply woven into its cultural fabric. They have not appreciated the recent gains made by the U.S. in the soccer border rivalry, and were very—very—pleased with the outcome of the Gold Cup. Nuff said.
Second, you can’t test positive for clenbuterol by eating “tainted” meat.
Let’s go to the expert, Fernando Ramos, “a professor at the University of Coimbra in Portugal who has studied clenbuterol contamination in meat for 20 years.”
According to Mr. Ramos, any animal pumped with enough clenbuterol for it to show up in the urine of a person who ate that animal would have died before being slaughtered for food.
Ramos says it’s possible to ingest detectable amounts of clenbuterol from livestock—but only if you eat the liver of the animal, “where clenbuterol is known to accumulate.” And then you would get terribly ill.
There have been numerous reports of these five players “eating contaminated meat” but not one about them “falling terribly ill from eating clenbuterol-soaked meat.”
For whatever reason, WADA has let this one go. Chances are, they will be a little more hard-nosed when it comes to Alberto Contador, the three-time Tour de France winner whose case goes before CAS next month.
Contador tested positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France, which he won, and claimed the positive was the result of … wait for it … his Twitter being hacked? … here it comes … eating contaminated meat!
Ramos, again, from the Times article:
When asked what the chances were that Contador’s positive test, even at such low levels, was a result of the meat he ate, Ramos said, “I can say 99 percent, it’s impossible.”