Two North Korea players failed drug tests at the women's World Cup and the entire team was then subjected to an unprecedented doping control, FIFA said Thursday.
Defenders Song Jong Sun and Jong Pok Sim tested positive after North Korea's first two group games and were suspended for Wednesday's match against Colombia that ended in a 0-0 draw. Both teams were eliminated.
World Cup organizing committee spokesman Jens Grittner told The Associated Press that the North Korea squad flew out of Duesseldorf at 6:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. It was bound for Zurich from where it will continue to Beijing and then Pyongyang.
He would make no further comment on the case, saying the matter was one for FIFA.
FIFA did not identify the substance involved and said neither the players nor the team requested a "B" sample test within the 12-hour deadline but that FIFA itself then requested such a test.
After the match against Colombia, all the remaining 19 players on North Korea's squad were tested.
"Where more than one member of a team has been notified of an anti-doping rule violation ... the ruling body for the competition shall conduct appropriate target testing of the team during the competition period," FIFA said, citing its regulations.
Colombia also had a player suspended when backup goalkeeper Yineth Varon failed an out-of-competition test shortly before the tournament.
The target testing of the entire North Korea team was co-ordinated with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), FIFA said.
The two defenders were included in the staring lineup against Colombia but were taken off the list and provisionally suspended when the results of the drug tests came in shortly before kickoff.
North Korea finished the tournament without scoring a goal. It lost 2-0 against the United States and 1-0 to Sweden before drawing with Colombia.