Manchester City defender Kolo Toure is "relieved" at being handed a six-month ban after testing positive for a specified substance earlier this season.
Toure will be available for his club in September as the ban was backdated to March 2. Toure is also to be target-tested for a period of two years from Thursday, May 26, following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing convened at Wembley by the Football Association.
He told his club's official website www.mcfc.co.uk: "This has been a difficult period for me. I am sad to have missed the team's triumph of securing Champions League football and also the FA Cup victory at Wembley. But I am relieved I will be able to return to football in September and thank the FA's commission for their understanding about my case in coming to their decision. "
Toure admitted the offence - his first - contrary to Regulation 3 of the FA Doping Regulations 210-11. But the panel took into consideration the circumstances behind his use of water tablets belonging to his wife.
Headed up by Christopher Quinlan QC, the commission were satisfied Toure did not intend to enhance sporting performance or to mask the use of a performance-enhancing substance.
Toure could have been suspended for two years but one member of the panel, in fact, felt he should not have been banned for longer than three months.
Quinlan said: "The criterion in assessing any reduction in what would otherwise be the minimum penalty of two years' suspension is the player's degree of fault. The player accepted he was at fault and with that concession we agree.
"He was at fault in the limited and perfunctory efforts he made in relation to the water tablets; the checks he made in relation to those tablets were inadequate and fell some way below what it would be reasonable to expect of a professional footballer in these circumstances.
"In fixing the appropriate period of suspension we had regard to all the relevant matters we have read and heard during the course of the hearing.
"The period of suspension suggested by Mr Lewis QC was one not in excess of three months. With respect, we disagree. In our judgment, the appropriate period of suspension is one of six months commencing on March 2 2011."
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