City's Toure handed six-month ban
Manchester City defender Kolo Toure has been suspended for six months after testing positive for a specified substance earlier this season.
However Toure will be available for his club in September as the ban begins from 2 March, the date of the start of his provisional suspension.
Toure is also to be target-tested for a period of two years, starting today, following an independent regulatory commission hearing convened at Wembley today by the
Toure admitted the offence - his first - contrary to Regulation 3 of the FA Doping Regulations 2010-11. But the panel took into consideration the circumstances behind his use of water tablets belonging to his wife.
Headed up by Christopher Quinlan QC, the commission were satisfied Toure did not intend to enhance sporting performance or to mask the use of a performance-enhancing substance.
Toure and City are likely to be relieved at his punishment as he could have been suspended for two years. One member of the panel, in fact, felt he should not have been banned for longer than three months but the majority disagreed.
Quinlan said: "The criterion in assessing any reduction in what would otherwise be the minimum penalty of two years' suspension is the player's degree of fault. The player accepted he was at fault and with that concession we agree.
"He was at fault in the limited and perfunctory efforts he made in relation to the water tablets; the checks he made in relation to those tablets were inadequate and fell some way below what it would be reasonable to expect of a professional footballer in these circumstances," he added. "In fixing the appropriate period of suspension we had regard to all the relevant matters we have read and heard during the course of the hearing.
"The period of suspension suggested by Mr Lewis QC was one not in excess of three months. With respect, we disagree. In our judgment, the appropriate period of suspension is one of six months commencing on March 2, 2011."
Under regulation 32 Toure cannot participate in any football match or any other football related activity other than anti-doping education or rehabilitation programmes.