Rafael Marquez has restrictions placed on him at this World Cup following an ongoing case over money laundering charges. The Mexican star isn’t allowed to be named as the Budweiser man of the match or drink the same brand of water as his teammates.
That’s because according to the New York Times, Marquez is not allowed to have any interactions with U.S.-based companies or individuals. The 39-year-old has landed himself on the United States Treasury Department’s blacklist and is alleged to have helped launder money for drug cartels in his native Mexico.
The centre-half has agreed to play for Mexico unpaid and have his day-to-day movements tracked in order to appear at the World Cup at all. It is vital to the investigation that Marquez has no U.S. connections whatsoever and international banking transactions could complicate that.
The 145 cap international has been on the blacklist since August, although he has not been found guilty of any criminal charges so far.
Martinez is nearing the end of his career, retiring from domestic football at the end of the most recent season with Mexican side Atlas. He has set up several business ventures as he plans for a life after football, but those businesses have been accused of being a front for Mexican drug lord Raul Flores Hernandez.
The situation has already complicated Marquez’s inclusion at the World Cup - the player had to fly separately from the team as he wasn’t allowed to use an American air carrier. There are also several high profile American World Cup sponsors who have to distance themselves from the player such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola.
Any company that interacts with Marquez will also be found guilty of criminal activity and could be fined up to £10m.
FIFA are aware of the fragile situation and are trusting the Mexican Football Federation to take charge of proceedings and report back when necessary.
FIFA released the following statement, via the New York Times, on the matter: "We are aware of the situation concerning the player Rafael Marquez and we are in regular contact with the Mexican Football Association."
Whilst the Mexican Football Federation added: "We take seriously the actions of the U.S. Treasury Department, and we have structured our World Cup operations so as not to violate U.S. sanctions laws."
Marquez came off the bench in Mexico's 1-0 win over Germany in their first group game, and he is set to retire following the World Cup.