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NFL unable to start HGH testing for start of season

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The National Football League (NFL) said on Friday it will not begin human growth hormone (HGH) testing at the start of the 2011 season because of a disagreement with the player's union over testing procedures.

The NFL was set to become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for HGH as part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but only if the NFL Players Association agreed to the process.

"Our clubs were informed today that, although the CBA reflects a commitment to implement HGH testing by the start of the regular season, it is apparent we will be unable to do so because of the union's continued refusal to accept the validity of the tests," the spokesman said.

The NFL's recommended tests were developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency and are the same ones used in Olympic sports and minor league baseball, according to the spokesman.

Last month, the NFL said its goal was to begin HGH testing the first week of the regular season, which kicks off on September 8, and that it would use the following weeks to discuss with the union the specifics for the testing procedures.

The NFLPA was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)