Andrew Lea has been handed a four-year suspension by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) for failing an out-of-competition drugs test.
UKAD found traces of trenbolone and drostanolone in a urine sample the Rochdale player submitted at a training session in January.
The anabolic steroids are known for artificially improving athletic performance and are prohibited at all times.
Lea acknowledged taking a product called TTM to improve his physical appearance but said he did not know it contained trenbolone and drostanolone.
The Hornets forward was unable to prove that the violation was not intentional and is banned from all sports until midnight on 8 January 2024.
Speaking on the case, UKAD’s Director of Operations, Pat Myhill said: “Athletes have a responsibility to themselves, their fellow athletes and sport to ensure that they are adhering to the Anti-Doping Rules in order to keep sport clean.
“This includes double checking all products, supplements and medications for prohibited substances. It is not enough to say ‘I didn’t know they were steroids’.
“Athletes should familiarise themselves with the Prohibited List each year, and use Informed Sport and Global DRO to check their products before ingesting.
“The onus is on the athlete to know exactly what they are putting into their bodies at all times.”
Lea joined Rochdale from NCL side Thatto Heath Crusaders prior to the 2020 season.