I found this article in The Guardian from Thursday night, which in the hectic world of football #exclusives, is practically 2010, but it's a great read; offering even more insight into Kolo Touré's diet-pill taking fiasco which led to his six-month ban. Apparently, the problem he had was not just physiological but psychological; he had a weight problem:
The full extent of the weight issues that led to Kolo Touré taking a banned substance and subsequently being suspended from football for six months has been laid bare in a report that diagnoses the Manchester City player as suffering from a "recognised medical condition" in which he had become "obsessed" with a "misplaced perception that he was fat."idk how many of you here watch the UK version of The Apprentice, but in a recent task they had to develop an animal food, and one team went with food to make a cat thinner. This shows something; our nation is bloody OBSESSED with weight. To me, Kolo Toure has never come across as particularly heavy; he strikes me more as hench, well-built, as a solid defender ought to be, imo. But then I know plenty of girls who are size 6 or 8 (2 or 4 in US sizes), so we're talking tiny girls, yet till mentally beat themselves up for having so much as a biscuit. I can sympathise with Toure in fixating on the size of his belly; I do this all the time. And it must be worse for him because whilst his abs are surely above that of a normal man, it's not unusual for footballers to strip their shirts off at the end of a match, and this probably only exacerbated his fears.
The in-depth findings into Touré's disciplinary case for being found with bendroflumethiazide in his system claims three different doctors had seen him as part of the case. Their analysis was of a man who "for some years has had a problem controlling his weight, has become obsessed with his weight and more particularly the appearance of his belly".
The report, released by the Football Association, goes on to say the medical evidence "proved the existence of a recognised medical condition concerning his perception of his appearance" .Touré's case "was that he took the water tablets to reduce the size and appearance of his belly, flowing from his misplaced perception that he was fat, a symptom of his medical condition".
Touré was banned from all football activities, including training with the rest of Roberto Mancini's players, until 2 September, after admitting the offence following a routine drug test after the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on 12 February.
The report claims the 30-year-old told the commission he had been under the belief he was allowed to take the water tablets after putting them into a drug dosette marked "Herbalife" and showing them to the club's then doctor, Jamie Butler, during an overnight hotel stay before the FA Cup tie at Notts County on 30 January.
Touré's case was that he asked Butler "these are the supplements I take, are they OK?" According to the FA document, he "recalled Dr Butler looking through the bag, lifting out some of the contents and then telling him that "everything in the bag is OK.'"
However, Butler told the hearing he could not recollect seeing the bottle of water tablets at any stage, and that his recollection was that Touré simply told him he wanted to start taking some Herbalife products. His evidence was in stark contrast to that of the player.
The report finds Touré did not make sufficient checks to establish whether the water tablets contained any banned substances, pointing out there were "obvious and reasonable steps that he could and should have taken; for example, make proper inquires with the club or his own doctor".
Rather than checking with the clinic where the tablets were issued, Touré had "relied upon multiple hearsay: he asked his wife to ask her friend who asked a receptionist who asked a doctor. That was perfunctory and pregnant with risk".
Touré's legal team "comfortably satisfied" the hearing that he had taken the tablets purely for "aesthetic purposes" and not for any performance-enhancing means, but the former Arsenal player is criticised for ignoring the advice that is routinely presented to him as a professional sportsman.
The commission was "unimpressed with the argument that his medical condition impaired his judgment." The report adds: "Kolo Touré is 30 years of age. He has received anti-doping education. He has been tested many times before. He has appeared in an anti-doping film. He is a seasoned and experienced international player … knowledgeable about, and with experience of, anti-doping regimes.
"In short [he] repeatedly, and for some time, took medication contained in a medicine bottle labelled only [with] a white sticky label on which was printed 'water tablets x21'. Frankly, they could have been anything." sauce
In our image-obsessed society eating disorders are nothing new, but for a footballer to have it is rather unusual, and from this article I sympathise with the man hugely. I can only assume that Toure was on the receiving end of some cruel chants at some point, then the false notion of him being overweight probably manifested itself through his mind. It's a big shame that his insecurities got the better of him and he jeapordized his career because of it, but all we can do is hope that when he returns to the game he doesn't dwell on mistakes in the past, but instead looks to make the most of the present.