Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes former Reds’ defender Mamadou Sakho had to wait too long for an apology and substantial damages from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for being wrongly suspended for an alleged doping violation.
Sakho was briefly banned after he tested positive for a fat-burning substance called higenamine after a Europa League game against Manchester United in March 2016.
Sakho missed the Europa League final against Sevilla, which Liverpool lost 3-1, and, he also alleged, a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad later that year as a result of his suspension.
The 30-year-old was ultimately cleared in July 2016 by UEFA’s disciplinary body, which found that higenamine was not on WADA’s banned list and the agency’s own laboratories were unsure about its status.
WADA later issued two statements, to the Daily Telegraph in August 2016 and to the Guardian in April 2017, which said Sakho was guilty of taking a prohibited performance-enhancing drug.
Sakho sued WADA for defamation and, at a High Court hearing in London on Wednesday, accepted an apology from the agency and an undisclosed sum in damages.
“My initial thought was finally because we all know already for a long time that Mama did nothing wrong that time,” Klopp said on Friday.
“If you carry around that mark that you did doping, especially when you didn’t do it that is really massive. So I’m really happy that he’s finally freed of all these things.”
Sakho,Â who joined Crystal Palace in 2017, said the apology from WADA was “something essential in order to be able to definitively turn the page.”