What should one do with Kolo Toure and Manchester City?

In 2000, the US 4×400 meters relay team won the Olympic final by a massive 2.33 seconds. One runner, Antonio Pettigrew, later admitted to using performance-enhancing substances. The entire team was disqualified and lost their gold medals. Despite the fact they were not drug cheats. Despite the fact that such the massive margin of victory suggests that the US would have won with ease regardless of drug use. Sadly, Pettigrew has since committed suicide.

In sports, teams get punished for the actions of individuals. Manchester City should be deducted points for the positive drug test of Kolo Toure. It is the only logical policy. Calculating the exact benefits of particular drugs is impossible.

If points are not deducted, drug testing should be abandoned in team sports entirely.

It is also the most moral conclusion. Not because Manchester City are cheats. Because no one is in a better position to police a professional footballer that the club paying him circa 100,000 pounds a week. Contracts of this magnitude should include mandatory regular drug testing. This will actually happen if Manchester City will be made an example.

That’s what happened in 2003 when Rio Ferdinand missed a drug test. Up to then the policy towards first time offenders was to issue a warning. Ferdinand was banned for 8 months. Since then players don’t miss drug tests. In 2005 Britain won the right to host the Olympics. It has consequently become a world leader in the war against doping in sport. Punishing Manchester City will be entirely consistent with Britain’s position on doping.

Policy is made by examples and precedents. Sure, other clubs in the past escaped such punishment. Manchester City will be an example. The Premier League’s will determine the nature of it. It can be “Tolerate drugs and win”. It can be “Police your own players or you get into trouble”.

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