EX-LIVERPOOL player Mamadou Sakho has been awarded ‘substantial’ damages over drug test error.
Sakho was briefly suspended in 2016 after he tested positive for a fat-burning substance called higenamine after a Europa League game for Liverpool against Manchester United in March of that year.
The result of that botched test, for which he has now accepted substantial damages from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), cost the 30-year-old defender a place in the Liverpool squad for their Europa League Final game against Sevilla.
Sakho, who now plays for Crystal Palace, was cleared in July 2016 by Uefa’s disciplinary body after they found that higenamine was not on Wada’s banned list.
The body also found that the agency’s own laboratories were unsure about its status, but despite this Wada still issued two further statements, one in August 2016 and one in April 2017, again stating that the player was guilty of taking a prohibited performance-enhancing drug.
Finally, at a High Court hearing in London on Wednesday, November 4, a jubilant Sahko accepted an apology from the agency and was awarded damages over the drug test error.
He said: “Wada has apologised and agreed to pay a substantial sum by way of compensation and not to repeat the allegations.
“I feel happy, happy for my family, happy for all my friends, for all the people who were around me during this tough year because it is not easy when you are a professional footballer or athlete.
“This is the worst thing you can be accused of, doping.
“Today is a big day for my story. I think it is important for athletes to have this kind of example and to be careful about everything they are taking,” he concluded.
In their apology, Guy Vassall-Adams QC, representing Wada, said: “Wada accepts that it should not have made the defamatory allegations it did… given that Mr Sakho had been acquitted by Uefa.
“Wada accepts that Mr Sakho did not breach the Uefa anti-doping regulations, did not cheat, had no intention of gaining any advantage and acted in good faith.
“Wada regrets the damage the defamatory allegations caused to Mr Sakho’s reputation and the distress, hurt and embarrassment caused to him.”
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