Canberra's Earl banned amid doping investigation

SYDNEY (AP) Canberra Raiders winger Sandor Earl has been suspended from the National Rugby League amid the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing substances in professional sport.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith told a news conference Thursday that Earl had accepted a suspension for the duration of the ongoing investigation after the NRL obtained evidence relating to the use and trafficking of the peptide CJC-1295.

CJC-1295 is an injectable synthetic peptide hormone that is similar in structure to human growth hormone, enabling the body to stimulate the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, and can increase lean muscle growth.

The Australian Crime Commission and ASADA have been investigating the use of banned substances in rugby league and the Australian rules Australian Football League all year, but Earl is the first player to be banned.

ASADA said in a statement Thursday that although it was aware of the NRL statement, it would make no comment on particular athletes in order to "protect the integrity of the investigation as well as any individuals."

Earlier in the week, the Australian Football League excluded Essendon from its finals series, fined the club $2 million and suspended its head coach for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute amid concern over its 2012 supplements program. The AFL said those sanctions related to governance and management flaws at the club, not doping.

The link between Essendon and rugby league is a sports scientist who ran the supplements program for the Bombers last year and earlier work for NRL club the Cronulla Sharks. Sharks players have been urged to give evidence to investigators but none have so far been charged.

"Our resolve on these issues remain clear. We will act on evidence when it is fully available," Smith said. "Everyone should be in no doubt that ASADA is continuing its investigations and that we will continue to work closely with them.

"I stress that we do not have evidence at this stage that would warrant any further action against any individual or club."

The 23-year-old Earl played for Sydney Roosters and Penrith before joining Canberra in 2012. He has played 29 NRL matches for Canberra, and has scored nine tries in 17 matches this season. One of his tries in the 2010 season was used in NRL promotional advertising.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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