Premier League

Kolo Toure banned for six months

PREMIER LEAGUE
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LONDON (AP)

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure was banned on Thursday for six months, backdated to March when he was provisionally suspended by the English Football Association for a positive doping test.

Toure, also an Ivory Coast international, faced a ban of two years, but the FA commission said it took into account his admission of guilt for taking water tablets belonging to his wife. The FA believed Toure did not intend to enhance his sporting performance or try to mask taking a performance-enhancing substance.

The drug test was administered after the Manchester derby on Feb. 12, and it came back positive on March 2, when the ban will start.

''This has been a difficult period for me,'' Toure told the City website. ''I am sad to have missed the team's triumph of securing Champions League football and also the FA Cup victory at Wembley.

''But I am relieved I will be able to return to football in September and thank the FA's commission for their understanding about my case in coming to their decision.''

One of the commission members believed Toure deserved only a three-month ban, but the rest disagreed, and in their ruling they felt six months was appropriate.

''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,'' said commission head Christopher Quinlan.

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