(CNN) -- Manchester City football player Kolo Toure has expressed his relief after receiving only a six-month suspension for using a banned drug.
The Ivory Coast international will miss the start of the 2011-12 season, but can return to action from September 2 after the punishment for taking weight-loss pills was backdated.
"This has been a difficult period for me, and I am sad to have missed the team's triumph of securing Champions League football for Manchester City and also the FA Cup victory at Wembley," Toure told the English club's website after Thursday's ruling.
"But I am relieved that 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 faced a possible two-year ban after admitting to using water tablets given to him by his wife, but several factors meant he escaped the maximum penalty.
One member of the panel recommended that the 30-year-old be sidelined for just three months as it was his first offense and he admitted his guilt.
Lawyer Christopher Quinlan, who headed the English Football Association's independent panel, said Toure "did not intend to enhance sporting performance or to mask the use of a performance-enhancing substance."
"The player accepted he was at fault and with that concession we agree," Quinlan said in a statement on the FA's website.
"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."
Toure, who will be target-tested for drug use for the next two years, was provisionally suspended on March 2.
The defender had to watch from the sidelines as City qualified for Europe's premier club competition for the first time, finishing third in Premier League.
His younger brother Yaya scored the winning goal in both the semifinal and final of the FA Cup, England's prestigious knockout competition, as City ended a 35-year wait to lift a trophy.