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Monday 24 April 2017

Yaya Toure accepts driving ban and insists he did not knowingly drink alcohol

Yaya Toure has apologised after admitting drink-driving and insists he had
Yaya Toure has apologised after admitting drink-driving and insists he had "not intentionally consumed alcohol"

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has apologised to fans after admitting drink-driving, but the Muslim footballer insisted he had "not intentionally consumed alcohol".

The former Ivory Coast international was fined £54,000 and banned from driving for 18 months after appearing in court on Monday.

The £200,000-a-week former Barcelona player, who joined Manchester City for £24million in 2010, said on Tuesday that while he had not contested the charge, he had not deliberately consumed alcohol.

It is understood Toure had been drinking from a jug of Diet Coke while at a party with friends and was unaware it also contained brandy.

In a statement released on his website, Toure said: "I have always refused alcohol. Anyone who knows me or follows football will have seen me refuse champagne for man-of-the-match performances because of my commitment to my religion.

"The matter has now been resolved in court on Monday. As I was above the permitted limit when tested on the night, I decided not to challenge the charge.

"However, it was important to me that I told the court that I had not intentionally consumed alcohol. The judge in his sentencing remarks accepted that I had not been intentionally drinking.

"Drink driving is a serious crime and even though I was not intentionally consuming alcohol I accept the ban and fine and I would like to apologise for this situation."

His statement did not explain how or where he had unintentionally consumed alcohol.

Toure, the brother of Celtic's former Liverpool and Arsenal defender Kolo Toure, was arrested in Dagenham, east London, on November 28.

Toure had been due to appear at Barkingside Magistrates Court in east London on Tuesday but the hearing was brought forward by a day. Court officials confirmed the fine and ban on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old has previously declined the traditional bottle of champagne for being named man of the match, including telling former team-mate Joleon Lescott "I don't drink because I'm Muslim, you keep it", when the defender tried to give him the bottle after a 2012 game.

Toure is now back in the first-team picture at City. He was frozen out by manager Pep Guardiola in September following controversial comments by his outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk, but that stand-off ended when Toure issued an apology in November.

He scored both goals when he returned in a 2-1 success at Crystal Palace on November 19 and also started the 2-1 win at Burnley two days before his arrest.

He came on as a late substitute on Saturday during his side's 4-2 defeat at champions Leicester.

Guardiola, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, said Toure would be available for Wednesday's Premier League game against Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

Asked if Toure was in contention, Guardiola said: "Yes. If we have a problem the club could say something about that but the court made the decision."

On the matter in general, Guardiola said: "He will not drive the next time, that is sure. He will be chauffeured, (with) a driver."

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