MEXICO CITY (AP) - Defender Rafael Marquez, named by the U.S. Treasury Department on a sanctions list for alleged trafficking ties last year, trained with Mexico ahead of the World Cup wearing a logo-free jersey.
During the practice in Mexico City, other players wore black shirts with the logos of three sponsors on the chest but Marquez’s was blank.
Marquez was not made available to the media to comment.
“We have consulted with different experts and we decided to take actions that, to our understanding, will not prejudice” Marquez or the Mexican Soccer Federation, the federation said in a statement.
“We hope Rafael Marquez finds himself in the best sporting position possible, and for the off-pitch issues that have arisen to be dealt with quickly,” the statement added.
Last August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization in the west-central city of Guadalajara.
He denied wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.
The 39-year-old Marquez played for Barcelona, Monaco and New York Red Bulls and is considered one of the biggest stars in Mexican soccer history.
He recently retired from Atlas in Mexico’s top flight. Atlas’ president had said in the past that he saw no problem with Marquez wearing a uniform with logos.
Marquez is among the 28 players vying to be included in Juan Carlos Osorio’s squad for Russia, expected to be announced June 4. It will be his fifth World Cup if he is selected.
His inclusion in the final squad for Russia has been in doubt because of the allegations.
In January, the federation’s president Decio de Maria said a condition for Marquez’s inclusion in the World Cup squad would be coming off the sanctions list.
The vastly experienced Marquez has played 143 times for Mexico, scoring 19 goals for “El Tri.”
He remains a huge presence in Mexico’s dressing room and is referred to by other players as “Master.”
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