The North Korean women's team walk off dejectedly after losing 2-0 to the United States. Petr David Josek/AP
Women's World Cup

Five North Koreans fail dope tests at Women's World Cup

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is ‘shocked’ as football faces its biggest tournament doping scandal in 17 years.

FIFA HAS REVEALED that a total of five North Korean players have tested positive for steroids at the Women’s World Cup, football’s biggest doping scandal at a major tournament in 17 years.

President Sepp Blatter said that after two players were caught during the tournament earlier this month, FIFA tested the rest of the North Korean squad and found that three more tested positive.

“This is a shock,” Blatter told a news conference. “You can hear this emotion in my voice.”

The last doping case at a major event came at the men’s 1994 World Cup in the United States, when Diego Maradona was sent home after testing positive for stimulants.

AP cited a FIFA source who said the North Korean delegation had an usual explanation for the positive dope tests:  the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines, based on musk glands that were used to treat injured players last night… when they were struck by lightning.

Defenders Song Jong Sun and Jong Pok Sim tested positive for steroids after North Korea’s first two group games and were suspended for the last match. The team was eliminated in the first round after losses to the United States and Sweden and a draw with Colombia.

The case will now be taken up by FIFA’s disciplinary committee. Blatter said the North Korean federation had already apologised.

Colombia’s reserve goalkeeper Yineth Varon has meanwhile been suspended for failing an out-of-competition test just before the World Cup after undergoing hormonal treatment.


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