Keeffe and Thomas get infraction notices

Collingwood players Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas have finally been issued with infraction notices for alleged breaches of the AFL’s anti-doping code.

The duo tested positive in February to clenbuterol – which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency but is not a specified substance on the AFL’s prohibited list – and have been provisionally suspended since March.

Keeffe and Thomas will now be required to face the AFL anti-doping tribunal at a date to be determined.

They are likely to be hit with two-year bans if found guilty of breaching the anti-doping code.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon issued the infraction notices to Keeffe and Thomas on Wednesday after being notified by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) that they had potentially breached the league’s anti-doping code.

Key-position player Keeffe, 25, has played 40 matches for the Magpies, including 18 in 2014.

Thomas, 23, has played 32 games for Collingwood after debuting in 2013.

Speaking in June, Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert said Keeffe and Thomas were likely to receive two-year bans.

“I wouldn’t say their careers are over,” said Pert.

“They’re in a process where it appears a likely outcome is a two-year suspension, from everything that we’re hearing.

“That’s serious but they’re still young guys.”

Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley, 31, returned to Dockers’ training on Tuesday for the first time since his backdated one-year suspension for testing positive to a banned painkiller was handed down in June.

Crowley’s ban ends on September 25, opening up the possibility of him returning to the Fremantle lineup for the last two weeks of the finals series, if the Dockers make it that far.

The AFL tribunal found that Crowley did not intentionally breach the anti-doping code, with ASADA choosing not to appeal the length of his ban.

“This case illustrates the dangers of inadvertent doping,” said ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt in June.

“Athletes need to be careful about what they take, even if they don’t intend to cheat.”

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