Toure 'took wife's diet pill'

March 4, 2011

Wenger has spoken with the former Gunners captain since news broke of his positive test for a specified substance. "He wants to control his weight a little bit because that's where he has some problems and he took the product of his wife," said Wenger. Wenger added: "Never trust your wife! That is how he was caught." Toure could face a lengthy ban and is currently suspended from playing for City. The 29-year-old moved to Eastlands in 2009 having spent seven seasons at Arsenal. Wenger spoke of his character in glowing terms and insisted Toure's error was failing to check the legality of the product he took. "I think it is a mistake. He was not cautious enough. I don't think there's a desire there to do something wrong and hide it," said Wenger. "It is a complete surprise because I had Kolo Toure here for years, I brought him here. "He is a boy who has a clean life. He's very honest living, always at home, a family man, and I don't suspect him at all to have taken drugs to enhance his performances. "I just think it is a mistake by forgetting to ask, 'Can I take that?'." In line with Football Association regulations, Toure has been suspended following confirmation that a "specified substance" was found in an A sample, believed to have been given after last month's derby at Old Trafford. Toure has the right to request his B sample - given at the same time - also be tested. The Ivorian would then get the opportunity to go before a personal hearing. Although "specified substances" do tend to be down the scale of drugs offences because the World Anti-Doping Agency accepts there are instances where credible explanations can be offered, they are still subject to a maximum two-year suspension. Hamilton's Simon Mensing served a four-week ban earlier this season after testing positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine (MHA), which was present in a dietary supplement. However, former Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny served a nine-month suspension after testing positive for the stimulant ephedrine. In Kenny's case, it took two months for the case to be heard and the player's defence of the drug being present in cough medicine taken to combat an infection was countered by the notion that a professional sportsman "has a strict responsibility to ensure prohibited substances do not enter his or her body" - the words of Christopher Quinlan, chairman of the Regulatory Commission that heard the Kenny case. Should Toure's case follow a similar timescale, that would rule the 29-year-old out until the beginning of May, even before any ban. City will presumably try to push for a hearing before that, although given the legal complexities, it might not be easy. Toure's problem is that under the strict liability rules that surround all cases of this nature, the Ivorian must prove his innocence. And that is where he may have a problem according to Michele Verroken, founding director of Sporting Integrity and formerly UK Sport's Director of Drug-Free Sport. "There are enough warnings out there," she said. "It is a risk for any professional athlete to take any supplements without speaking to their club's medical staff first. "If what is being said by Mr Wenger is correct, then it is what we call a fat burner, which increases the heart rate. "You simply cannot afford to be taking this stuff. There is no excuse." Without having specific details of the case, Verroken feels it is impossible to speculate on the likely outcome of Toure's case. "So much depends on the circumstances," she said. "The football authorities already seem to have made it clear by referring to 'specified substance' that we not be talking about anything performance-enhancing. "But it is now the responsibility of the player to explain what exactly he has done and why. "I am sceptical about supplements like this anyway. The key to weight loss, in my opinion, is a healthy diet and exercise. "It may be that he can convince a disciplinary panel of his innocence and he will get away with a warning. On the other hand, if they don't believe him, they can apply a two-year ban. "That would not just stop him from playing. He wouldn't be able to train with a team either, which could have a devastating impact on his career. "It just seems so pointless."