Half of U-17 World Cup Players Failed Drug Test Because of Bad Meat
At this summer’s U-17 World Cup tournament in Mexico, juicing was apparently somewhat of a problem. Of the 24 teams that began the tournament, 19 of them had players who tested positive for an illegal anabolic drug called clenbuterol. Tests in Germany after the conclusion of the tournament revealed traces of the drug in 109 of 208 urine samples.
What started this doping fad among the young players? According to this AP report via Dirty Tackle, there was no fad at all. In fact, the players were accidentally drugged through the food they ate at the hotels in Mexico. FIFA medical director Jiri Dvorak called the positive drug test results “highly surprising” but and issue of “public health” rather than a problem with players doping.
One team that was able to avoid the issue altogether was tournament champion Mexico. Apparently the feeding of banned anabolic substances to livestock is a significant issue in Mexico, so the Mexican U-17 squad switched to a fish and vegetable diet before the tournament began. Whether or not the lack of drugging gave them an advantage is unknown at this point, but I highly doubt their failure to share the information with the rest of the class was a coincidence. Stories like these give new meaning to the concept of home field advantage.