‘Wife’s slimming tablet’ to blame for Toure’s failed test

Arsene Wenger has claimed Kolo Toure “made a mistake” in taking a banned substance – but a leading expert on drugs in sport does not feel that defence alone will be enough to clear the Manchester City star.

As both Toure and City have maintained strict silence on the failed test which has led to the defender being suspended pending a full investigation, Wenger has filled the void.

The Arsenal manager spoke on Thursday night with the player he brought to England as a 21-year-old in 2002. And while Toure might not thank him for bringing into the public domain knowledge he was doing his best to save for a likely hearing, Wenger has confirmed the banned substance was almost certainly contained in a slimming tablet that belonged to his wife.

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“He made a mistake by forgetting to ask ‘can I take that?’,” said Wenger.

“He wants to control his weight a little bit because that is where he has some problems and he took a product belonging to his wife.

“I don’t think there’s a desire there to do something wrong and hide it. He was not cautious enough.

“Never trust your wife. That is how he was caught.”

A devout Muslim and one of the cornerstones of City’s push into the Manchester community, Toure seemed the least likely player to get embroiled in such a mess.

Certainly from his own dealings with the 29-year-old, Wenger cannot conceive of Toure as a drugs cheat.

“It is a complete surprise because I had Kolo Toure here for years, I brought him here,” he said.

“He is a boy who has a clean life.

“He’s very honest living, always at home, a family man. I don’t suspect him at all to have taken drugs to enhance his performances.”

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 may 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.”