Mexico, host country for soccer’s last World Cup competition in 1986, on Thursday was barred from international competition for two years, including the Olympic Games at Seoul, Korea, and the 1990 World Cup.
FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, hit Mexico with the two-year ban because it used four players who were above the age limit in qualifying for next year’s world junior tournament. FIFA also announced that it is investigating Mexican soccer officials, who could face lifetime suspensions if found responsible in the affair.
Mexico’s replacement in the Olympics and the 1990 World Cup qualifying games will be determined later, FIFA said. The Mexican squad bound for the Junior World Championships next year in Saudi Arabia will be replaced by the team from the United States.
The decision was met with sadness in Mexico, but Mario Velarde, coach of the national team that would have traveled to the Olympics, said: “The news is sad, lamentable, but we must take a positive attitude. Face it basically with a daily labor to try to improve.”
Under FIFA rules, Mexico cannot appeal the decision but can ask FIFA to reconsider.