Infraction notices have been issued to Collingwood players Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas by AFL general Counsel Andrew Dillon after the Australian Football League was notified by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority that Keeffe and Thomas had potentially breached the league’s anti-doping code.

Keeffe and Thomas tested positive to Clenbuterol in February. Clenbuterol is not a specified substance on the AFL’s prohibited list but is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Collingwood players have been provisionally suspended since March and are likely to face bans of two years, according to Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert. It was remarked by Pert that they are still young guys and their careers are not over as they are in a process where it appears a likely outcome is a two-year suspension, from everything that we are hearing. The Collingwood chief executive also remarked it is for both players to decide whether they’re going to contest – whether they want to say they accept the ruling or not, or the severity of the penalty, and added they will advise ASADA once they have made that decision. Pert remarked if the players decide to contest it, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority would advise the Australian Football League that will then organize a tribunal hearing.

The 25-year-old Keeffe is a key-position player and has played 40 matches for the Magpies, including 18 in 2014. On the other hand, the 23-year-old Thomas has played 32 games for Collingwood after debuting in 2013.

In another development, Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley returned to Dockers’ training for the first time since serving his backdated suspension of one year after he tested positive to a banned painkiller. The 31-year-old opens the possibility of him returning to the Fremantle lineup for the last two weeks of the finals series if the Dockers are able to make it that far. The return of Crowley was made possible after it was found by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal that he did not intentionally breach the anti-doping code. In a statement, ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt said we note the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal found Crowley did not intend to violate the World Anti-Doping Code and remarked this case illustrates the dangers of inadvertent doping. McDevitt also commented athletes need to be careful about what they take, even if they don’t intend to cheat. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority decided not to appeal against the length of Crowley’s ban.

Ryan Crowley remarked at the time of provisional suspension that he deeply regretted his actions and he genuinely never intentionally meant to do the wrong thing. Crowley has played 188 games for the club since he was drafted in 2002. The 31-year-old won the club’s best and fairest in 2012 and had become one of the premier taggers in the competition under Coach Ross Lyon. Pending the finding by the AFL anti-doping tribunal, Crowley was provisionally banned for the first 10 weeks of the 2015 season. However, the three-person tribunal, comprising of chairman David Jones, former judge John Nixon and Dr Susan White, decided not to impose heavy sanction against Crowley.

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