It has been revealed today that Manchester City’s Kolo Toure failed a drugs test which was taken after the Manchester derby.

In April 2003, Mark Bosnich was banned for 9 months and fined £10k for failing a drugs test.
In December 2003, Rio Ferdinand was banned for 8 months and fined £50k for missing a drugs test.
In November 2004, Adrian Mutu was banned for 7 months and fined £20k for failing a drugs test.

As far as I’m concerned, missing a drugs test should be punished the same as failing. However, the case of Rio Ferdinand is distinctly different from just any old “missed drugs test” story.

Before training, he was told along with two other players that he would be tested for drugs after training. Training ended and Rio flew off to town, where he was pictured shopping. At 2.02pm he remembered the drugs test and called the club to ask could he come back for the test. The testers told him he was too late, however they didn’t leave Carrington until 2.27pm, which would have been enough time to return for the test. UEFA’s website confirmed that Rio had asked to take the test on the same day but was told it was too late. An important point to mention is that drug-test procedures do not have a time limit so there was no reason why the testers couldn’t have waited, given the implications of what him not taking the test were. Rio was tested for drugs at their next convenience, two days later, and that test came back negative.

Before Rio’s ban and fine had been announced, PFA chief Gordon Taylor was confident, like many, that there would be no problem in clearing the defender’s name, after the evidence that Rio’s plea to take the test before the testers have left was rejected.

“If I was representing the FA and they asked me should it go ahead, I would say that unless they can mount an emphatic challenge to this evidence it should not,” he said. “We don’t want to sweep anything under the carpet but the case is now far from cut and dried. It is clear the testers should have stayed. Not enough was done to ensure Rio took the test on that day. It is not good enough to just leave when he was prepared to make it back.”

After Rio’s unprecedented punishment was handed out, Rio offered to have a hair follicle test, which would have given results for the past 6 months, dating before his original test date, but the FA declined his request.

The MEN reported at the time: The FA does not appear to dispute Ferdinand’s claims that he has never taken drugs – they have not listed him for target-testing, which would be the usual procedure for any player suspected of being a drug user. And their refusal to get involved in hair follicle testing is further evidence that they do not question Ferdinand’s claims that he is drug-free. They maintain the punishment is for his failure to take the test alone.

The whole episode was an absolute farce and illustrates the idiocy of fans claiming United are given preferential treatment by the FA. The unjust nature of this incident is heightened when you look at the case of Christian Negouai, a Manchester City player, who missed a drugs test just months before Rio. Negouai was due to take a pre-arranged drugs test at City’s training ground but at the appointed time he went missing, later explaining that he had had to collect his mother from the airport. He claimed that he was delayed in traffic and by the time he made it he had missed the test. He was given no ban and was fined just £2,000.

What does this mean for Toure then? Slapped wrists no doubt.

Out of interest, bans in English football since Mutu:
26 Jan 2010: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 2-month ban. Player: Secret
26 Jan 2010: Marijuana — warning. Player: Secret
10 Oct 2009: Ephedrine — 9-month ban (to 21 Apr 2010) and two years’ target testing. Player: Paddy Kenny
5 Oct 2009: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 5-month ban. Player: Secret
29 Sep 2009: Cocaine — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
29 May 2009: Marijuana — 4-month ban. Player: Ged Smith
27 Apr 2009: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
3 Mar 2009: Benzylpiperazine / Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 4-month ban. Player: Secret
3 Mar 2009: Marijuana — formal warning. Player: Secret
27 Nov 2008: Marijuana — formal warning / reprimand. Player: Secret
17 Oct 2008: Marijuana — 4-month ban. Player: Secret
26 Sep 2008: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 3-month ban. Player: Secret
12 Sep 2008: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 5-month ban. Player: Secret
20 Sep 2008: Marijuana — formal warning / reprimand. Player: Secret
11 Jan 2008: Failure to comply — 2-year ban. Player: Secret
3 Sep 2007: Marijuana — formal warning. Player: Secret
15 Mar 2007: Terbutaline — formal warning . Player: Secret
10 Jan 2007: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
5 Jan 2007: Marijuana — warning, target testing. Player: Secret
16 Oct 2006: Marijuana — warning, target testing. Player: Secret
3 Oct 2006: Ephedrine (stimulant) — 6-month ban. Player: Danny Cadamarteri
6 Sep 2006: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 7-month ban. Player: Shaun Newton
10 Jul 2006: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
22 Mar 2006: Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
22 Mar 2006: Marijuana — warning, target testing for two years. Player: Secret
19 Jan 2006: Marijuana — ban, lifted after assessment. Player: Secret
17 Jan 2006: Cocaine — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
20 Oct 2005: Cocaine — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
24 Jun 2005: Cocaine — indefinite ban after third positive test. Player: Secret
24 Jun 2005: Failure to comply — banned indefinitely. Player: Olafur Gottskalksson)
8 Jun 2005: MDMA (ecstasy) — 6-month ban. Player: Secret8 Jun 2005: Cannabis — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
8 Jun 2005: Cannabis — 6-month ban. Player: Secret
16 May 2005: Cocaine — 12-month ban. Player: Secret
14 Jan 2005: MDMA (ecstasy) — warning. Player: Secret

————
FA turn down new Rio test
City player’s case may be used in legal battle
UEFA report
English FA has handed out 24 drugs bans since Mutu




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