Man City's Kolo Toure Drugs Test: Should Drugs Be Allowed in Football?
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Manchester City defender Kolo Toure is facing a ban of up to two years after taking weight loss pills, used by his wife, which contained an illegal substance.
His advisor, Valere Gouriso, said: "He took pills to lose weight. He has used the pills that his wife used to lose weight. It turned there was a substance in them that was not good."
The A-Sample provided by Toure is from a routine drugs test after his team's derby clash with Manchester United a few weeks ago. The Ivory Coast centre-back was an unused substitute.
Although he took the substance unknowingly, it is highly likely Kolo will face a ban, considering the substance is banned in football and is one on a list provided to all professional athletes by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) through, in this country, UK Sport, and to footballers, The FA and the Premier League.
And in the case of City's former captain, it seems that boring, irrelevant piece of paper has now come back to bite him, big time, after failing to check with The FA or even the club's medical staff whether it was OK to take the pills.
Anyway, the Toure example again brings to the world's attention the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sport, and begs the question, should they be allowed?
At first it seems a ludicrous thing to even consider, as PEDs are unethical, give athletes an unfair advantage and have potentially fatal side effects.
Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in football?
However, it's not actually such a ridiculous concept to legalise all such drugs.
For a start, if they were all legalised, there might not be an unfair advantage as everyone would be able to take them.
Also, PEDs would make sport, and in this case football, even more of a spectacle.
Athletes would seem even more super-human and could further inspire more young children to take up sport and be like their heroes. Not such a bad idea considering obesity rates amongst children are rapidly rising in the Western world.
If anabolic steroids were permitted in football for example, diving would be much less of an issue as it would more obvious when a player deliberately falls to the ground, as after all, a player who managed to spectacularly win a tussle for the ball down the wing shouldn't suddenly hit the sack like a sniper target just because he's inside the penalty area.
Anabolic steroids would also increase muscle density in the quadriceps, effectively making players legs "stronger", meaning they can sprint faster and shoot more powerfully, meaning football could become an increasingly high tempo game with more players scoring sensational long-range goals.
Then if drugs like erythropoietin (EPO) were allowed in the sport, players would effectively be fitter for longer, reducing the chances of fatigue and injury, meaning they could work hard for 90 minutes, keeping up the high tempo of the game, as they'd have more haemoglobin and oxygen-carrying red blood cells in their system.
And as everyone knows, the fitter players are, the more capable they are of showing off their sizzling skills, stellar shooting and top technique.
Imagine how good Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be if they could work flat out for a whole game and be ready for the next game three days later.
If PEDs like narcotic analgesics were also available, players would be able to return from injury much quicker, meaning the best players, should they ever get injured, would come back to action quicker and could return bang on form, instead of having to use a few games just to find their rhythm.
Had the £35million rated Andy Carroll (who was on sale for only £1million at the start of the 2009/10 season) used such narcotic analgesics, he could've made his debut for Liverpool within just two or three weeks of signing for the club, and would've been in the right physical condition to hit the ground running on his debut.
And if players were able to take stimulants like caffeine (through tablets in large enough doses), not only would they be again less fatigued, but they'd also be more alert and focused, making defenders get scintillating sliding tackles spot on without risking a red card, allowing goalkeepers better reaction time to fly high and stop that super shot destined for the top corner (imagine how good Joe Hart would be with shed loads of caffeine), and even giving midfielders like Xavi or Paul Scholes better chances of making that cross-pitch wonder-pass.
Even these infamous weight loss pills Kolo Toure is in the dock for using could aid the footballing spectacle.
If players could get to their optimum weight, they'd be quicker and have better agility, making battles between attackers and defenders all the more exciting.
PEDs have been used in sport for a long time. Last year, American cyclist Floyd Landis admitted using them for most of his career, and claimed others such as Lance Armstrong have long been doping as well.
There are many benefits to players of taking such drugs, hence why they're called "performance-enhancing" drugs, and with the pressure in such a results-based industry like football sky high, why shouldn't teams and their under-fire managers give their clubs the best chances possible of winning?
Also, with soaring ticket prices, and even the cost of watching football on television ever increasing, surely fans should be receiving the best value possible for their money.
Allowing players to take PEDs would certainly make for more entertaining viewing, which in turn would increase ticket sales and boost TV ratings.
And for the clubs who don't have the money to splash out £80million on one player, surely it'd be fairer for them if they could develop PEDs and make their players as good as they can possibly get. That way, it'd be a slightly more level playing field no matter the income streams clubs receive, and would make football a more competitive sport, again increasing it's popularity, ticket sales and TV ratings.
Football is a sport which needs a new direction, with the state of the beautiful game declining season after season.
Allowing performance-enhancing would make the sport more competitive and make the game more of a spectacle, meaning it could finally take off and become a lot more mainstream in key places like the U.S and Australia, two countries FIFA wants to boost the game's image.
Of course there are many downsides to PEDs, and the above benefits aren't exactly set-in-stone shining examples of how they'd boost the beautiful game.
But they are valid reasons as to how football can be improved and it's fundamental issues addressed.
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