The Manchester City defender claimed he had taken his wife Awo's diet pills and that they led to him testing positive for a banned substance after the Manchester derby last month.
What have I done? Manchester City defender Kolo Toure could be facing a lengthy ban
Toure, 29, did not train with his team-mates on Friday as he held talks with advisers to discuss his next move. He has until Wednesday to request a second analysis of the urine sample he provided for the drugs testers at Old Trafford. Toure's representatives are vowing to fight any charge and clear his name.
They claim City have also promised to stand by their player, while Toure's former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was one of the first people to offer his support yesterday and revealed: '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.'
WHY TAKING DIET PILLS AS AN ATHLETE IS DANGEROUS Why would a sportsman take weight-loss pills? There's really no reason. Elite athletes will be very aware of their muscle bulk and eat a diet based on a balance of high proteins, medium carbohydrates and low fats. If you're such an active person on a low-fat diet, a lot of the common weight-loss pills probably wouldn't do much anyway.
What do weight-loss pills do? It depends on the type of pill and whether it was prescribed or bought over the counter. There are two common types. One is an antidepressant which makes you feel good and stops you craving food. Another blocks fat uptake, but I doubt Kolo Toure took these because they can cause diarrhoea and incontinence.
What banned substances are present in weight-loss pills? Again it depends on the pill - different types are made up of different chemicals. It is most likely Toure failed the test for a stimulant in the pill. There's a group of herbal remedy products available from health shops and some of these contain stimulants such as ephedra or hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which increase your metabolic rate. Ephedra raises your heart rate and energy expenditure so you can eat the same number of calories and lose weight. They can also contain a second stimulant that makes you feel fuller for longer.
What advantages would there be for a professional footballer? Apart from hitting weight-loss targets, none at all and taking them is dangerous. It would be bonkers for an athlete to take a diuretic weight-loss pill because good hydration is essential to keeping your nutrients. Other weight-loss drugs boost your metabolic rate almost like speed. We try to avoid them anyway but they could be even more dangerous for an athlete - the faster your heart rate the more likely it is to enter an abnormal rhythm and even arrest. Long-term, you risk damaging your heart valve. Taking a stimulant can also increase your core body temperature - running around on top of that makes you vulnerable to heat stroke.
Luke Benedict was talking to Dr Catherine Collins , spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association
But the Ivory Coast international faces the threat of a lengthy ban and his adviser Valer Gourizro said: 'He blames himself. You can't blame anyone but yourself in this situation. He can't blame his wife, can he?
'He didn't know there was anything in the pills. Sometimes you do things but he didn't realise the consequences. He does now.
'He takes responsibility but believes he's done nothing wrong. We've got a good case and don't think it will be a two-year ban. That would be a great shame because he's one of the cleanest players in the Premier League. He's had phone calls from the Arsenal players, Arsene Wenger, everybody. Nobody can believe it.
'His brother Yaya lives very close and is a big support for him at the moment. So is Patrick Vieira, who he played with at Arsenal. He's got Awo and the kids, and Yaya's family as well. Mentally he's fine.
'The City coach (Roberto) Mancini likes him and I spoke to (City football administrator) Brian Marwood last night. He said that the club will stand by Kolo and they know that he gives 100 per cent for City.'
Toure, a devout Muslim and teetotaller, was suspended by City and withdrawn from the squad to face Aston Villa on Wednesday night when the club were given news of the failed test two hours before kick-off.
He can still train with team-mates, but even that would be prohibited by the FA if he is eventually found guilty. The time it would take to analyse his B sample and arrange for a personal hearing might already mean that his season is over.
Toure's argument that he did not know he was taking a banned substance is unlikely to find sympathy with the FA's disciplinary commission, which has previously refused to accept ignorance as an excuse.
Former Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was banned for nine months after testing positive for ephedrine he claimed was contained in a cough mixture, while Hamilton's Simon Mensing served a four-week ban when traces of methylhexaneamine were found in his system after taking a dietary supplement.
Sources close to the testing process indicated last night that Toure's sample is likely to contain one of those two stimulants. Both are well down the scale of drug offences listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but still carry a maximum two-year suspension.
'We'll speak with Kolo again tonight and listen to the legal people before deciding what to do regarding the B sample,' added Gourizro. 'He will be back in training on Monday. His first job is football so he needs to train and keep his form.
'Kolo is a hero to the Ivorian people and the country is very sad about this. We have so much trouble with civil war and the banks closing and this news is a blow. Everyone has stopped talking about the war and is talking about Kolo instead. That's how big it is.'
? For a man of 6ft, Kolo Toure's match-fit weight of 11st 9lbs is healthy. But the Ivorian is understood to put on weight easily and has, at times, returned from a summer break carrying too much weight. It is claimed that the 29-year-old defender took his wife Awo's diet pills. Even after enjoying themselves at Rosso Italian restaurant in Manchester, there's little evidence of either needing to use slimming supplements in this picture.
?Wenger revealed yesterday how Toure had called him on Thursday night. The Arsenal boss, who has been a mentor for the defender since signing him nine years ago from Ivory Coast club ASEC Mimosas, said: 'He is devastated because you can be suspended once you are positive and people don't consider too much why you did it. They just punish you.
'Legally, what is forbidden is forbidden. The mistake he made is not to have asked the Man City doctor, "Can I take that or not?". 'He was not cautious enough. I don't think there's a desire to do something wrong and hide it. I do not suspect him at all to have taken drugs to enhance his performances.
'It was completely the kind of stupid thing that can happen to you, where you are punished in life. Cross the road, don't look right or left. Boom. People don't ask if you deserve it or not.'
Toure's father Mory also pleaded his son's innocence. He said: 'It's wrong to say Kolo has taken drugs. He just took a slimming substance for his weight. He believes he will be vindicated and that destiny will be on his side.'
?If he's story is true, it's an explanation not an excuseby Michele Verroken (right)
Arsene Wenger might have tried to make light of Kolo Toure's situation but it is important to take any adverse analytical finding extremely seriously. Not least because of the strict liability aspect of WADA's doping regulations.
If the reports are correct, and Toure has taken something given to him by a family member, it is an explanation, not an excuse.
It is a serious matter and athletes are warned about the risks of taking supplements. The problem with them, and a professional really should know this, is that unlike licensed medicines and food, the industry is unregulated. It amazes me that, despite high-profile cases involving supplements, some players and clubs still take the risk.
If Toure has taken a diet pill, and the most likely substance it could contain is some kind of mild stimulant, it certainly should have been checked with the Manchester City medical staff before being used.
When a player uses such supplements there is a high risk they could be taking a prohibited substance. City's press release mentions a 'specified substance'. This means that, within the WADA regulations, it is 'more susceptible to a credible non-doping explanation'.
If Toure is banned he would not even be able to train with his colleagues. Now there is a debate about whether some of these substances should even be on a banned list. It is a valid question but is another argument.
Right now, the substance that has been detected is banned and athletes must take responsibility. At the same time there have to be penalties for those who break the rules.
Michele Verroken is director of sporting integrity and a former director of ethics and anti-doping at UK Sport
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?Explore more:People: Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira, Catherine Collins, Arsene Wenger Places: Manchester Organisations: British Dietetic Association, World Anti-Doping Agency
Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail