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05-Nov-2020, 10:17 am

'The worst thing you can be accused of' - Sakho accepts 'substantial' damages from WADA

Mamadou Sakho Crystal Palace 2020-21

Crystal Palace centre-backMamadou Sakho has been awarded a "substantial" sum by the World Anti-Doping Agency over false allegations of doping in 2016.

The former Liverpool defender was briefly suspended four years agoafter testingpositive forhigenamine - a fat burning substance.

Sakho missed the Reds' Europa League final against Sevilla as a result and was eventually cleared by UEFA’s disciplinary body of dopingafter they ruledhigenamine was not on WADA’s banned list.

Despite that ruling, WADA would go on to issue two statements suggesting thatSakho was guilty of taking a prohibited performance-enhancing drug.

Sakho decided to sue for defamation as a result and a recent High Court ruling found in his favour, with the 30-year-old awardedan undisclosed sum in damages.

"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," Sakho said outside of court on Wednesday.

"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.”

Sakho's lawyer Julian Santos added:“WADA has apologised and agreed to pay a substantial sum by way of compensation and not to repeat the allegations.”

Guy Vassall-Adams QC, representing WADA, told Mr Justice Nicklin during the hearing: “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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