Manchester City star defender Kolo Toure could be banned from football for two years after being suspended for a positive drugs test.
A specified substance was found by the Football Association after the 29-year-old was tested at the Manchester derby last month.
Toure did not play in the game and was an unused substitute.
The punishment could be a two-year ban for the Ivory Coast international, who plays alongside brother Yaya Toure at Eastlands.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) defines a specified substance as one that is “more susceptible to a credible, non-doping explanation”.
Bans in similar cases in recent times have varied from weeks to nearly a year.
In Scotland, Hamilton Academicals midfielder Simon Mensing recently served a four-week ban after the stimulant methylhexaneamine was detected in his system.
The player argued he was unaware he had ingested the substance while using a dietary supplement – a view accepted by UK Anti-Doping.
But last year former Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny served a nine-month suspension after testing positive for the stimulant ephedrine after he accidentally took the drug in cough medicine.
After Toure’s sample returned positive, City confirmed in a statement that Toure had been suspended “pending the outcome of the legal process”.
Toure is a former club captain who joined City from Arsenal in July 2009.
He has made more than 50 appearances for the club but was not involved in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa.
The failed test automatically triggered the suspension and it is understood that Toure was left out of the squad because the club had been made aware of the situation.
An FA statement read: “The FA can confirm that a player has been provisionally suspended from playing pending investigation, having tested positive for the use of a prohibited substance.”
Toure, under contract with City until the summer of 2013, was one of several high-profile arrivals in the summer of 2009 when then-manager Mark Hughes spent more than £100m on new players.
Image courtesy of Matthew Wilkinson