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Probe shocks Toure

PLAYERS' union chief Gordon Taylor admits Kolo Toure was "shocked" by Manchester City's decision to hold a disciplinary hearing over his failed drugs test.

Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), attended the hearing with Toure yesterday afternoon and the outcome of the gross misconduct charge is expected later this week.

Toure, who has served a six-month ban imposed by the FA, produced character references from his former club Arsenal and a number of fellow players at the hearing.

He insists he tested positive because he took one of his wife's slimming pills not knowing it contained a banned substance.


Taylor said the six-month ban was punishment enough, but City insist the PFA knew about the charge as far back as July.

Taylor said: "We have had the hearing today and we presented the fact that the FA could have given him two years but only gave him six months because they took into account that it was a genuine mistake and not performance-enhancing or a diuretic to mask drug-taking.

"He also had excellent character references from Arsenal and a number of other players.

"It just seems strange that after being welcomed back to the club, reinstated as captain for Carling Cup matches, that someone has come up with this hearing.

"Instead of sending out a message that this is someone who has made a mistake and served his punishment already, they are now taking action against him again.

"It seems very strange against someone who is acknowledged by all concerned to have a top-class character."

Taylor said the 30-year-old Ivory Coast defender, whose brother Yaya Toure is also at Manchester City, had been shocked to find out City were to hold a disciplinary hearing.


"He trained every day while he was off and maintained a very positive attitude so he was shocked to find they were looking to take action against him," he said.

The hearing was held by City's football administrator Brian Marwood and a City lawyer.

City's chief communications officer Vicky Kloss said: "It is not a new decision - we had consultations with the PFA about this in July."

It is understood the hearing had been postponed on a number of previous occasions due to people involved being unavailable - Toure himself was in the Ivory Coast during the close season.