Magpies could face two-year suspensions

COLLINGWOOD says its dietary and nutrition program was in no way linked to the positive tests to the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol returned by Josh Thomas and Lachlan Keeffe.

Magpies chief executive Gary Pert, one of the driving forces behind stepping up the AFL's battle against drug cheats, said the club had conducted a forensic audit of its program and was "completely satisfied" the positive results were not connected.

The club released a statement saying: "Collingwood is wholly committed to upholding the WADA anti-doping policy and the cause of eradicating performance-enhancing drugs from sport".

Thomas and Keeffe, who returned the positive result from a test taken on February 10 this year, will have their 'B' samples tested on April 14.

If found guilty they face a potential two-year ban.

Keeffe, 24, has played 18 games with the Magpies since making his debut in 2011 while Thomas, 23, made his debut in round one, 2013 and has played 32 matches.

Clenbuterol is not classified as a specified substance under the AFL Anti-Doping prohibited list, but is a performance-enhancing drug that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Authority and is not approved for human use in Australia.

The drug hit the headlines in 2010 after Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador won the Tour de France, but later returned a positive test for clenbuterol.

Contador was subsequently stripped of his title and banned for two years, despite arguing it had come from eating contaminated meat on a rest day.

The AFL's anti-doping tribunal will today release its findings into Essendon's supplements program from 2011-12.



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