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Jun 28, 2011

Mexico players sent home after scandal

Eight Mexico internationals have been sent home just days before the start of the Copa America after being caught up in an alleged sex scandal at the team's training camp.

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) confirmed that Jonathan dos Santos, Nestor Vidrio, Javier Cortes, David Cabrera, Nestor Claderon, Israel Jimenez, Jorge Hernandez and Marco Fabian had all been sent home for violating team rules but would not go into further detail.

Mexico team director Hector Gonzalez Inarritu said: "The rules were broken, the code of discipline was broken and I have to act."

Although FMF officials would not be pressed on the intricacies, news reports in Mexico said the incidents involved players having female guests in their rooms.

The misdemeanours came to light after other members of the squad reported that some personal items, including laptops, iPads, mobile phones and cash, had been stolen from their rooms.

Hotel staff denied they had taken the items and blamed the robberies on girls taken back to hotel rooms who worked in the sex industry.

After an investigation, CCTV footage provided by the hotel subsequently showed a member of the Mexican side's staff chaperoning women into the players' rooms.

"We have videos of the women going into the rooms, brought in by a team manager of the Mexican national side," hotel manager Robert Ramia said.

The ejected players have been banned for six months and fined £3,000 each. The octet are expected to be quickly replaced with the Copa America due to start on July 1 in La Plata, Argentina, where the hosts play Bolivia.

Mexico opted to send an Under-22 side to the tournament in order to rest the star players who won the Gold Cup with a 4-2 win over the USA this weekend.

El Tri beat Ecuador 1-0 on Saturday in their final warm-up match before the Copa America and the incidents are reported to have taken place in Quito after the match.

"The players confessed," Gonzalez said. "They are very hurt, very sorry and they have said they are sorry to their fans...They are assuming the consequences."

Mexico's first game is on July 4 against Chile in Group C, which also includes Peru and Uruguay.