Since yesterday, Mamadou Sakho has been given back the right to play professional football.
UEFA, who suspended him until further notice because of a drug test that was taken on the 17th March, after the Europa League encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool, have decided not to prolong his suspension any further, being fully expected not to take any further action against Sakho.
Between now and Tuesday, a committee of UEFA experts are due to meet in order to make a definitive decision in this case. They were leaning yesterday towards a decision not to punish Sakho, taking the player’s English lawyers’s arguments into account.
The 26 year old, who will not make any public statement until an official decision is announced, maintained his claim throughout this case that the products inside the fat burner that he was found to have been taking, were not on UEFA’s official list of banned substances.
Turns out that Sakho was right.
The particular substance found in Sakho’s urine, that was present in the product that the French international was taking, is called higenamine. The presence of this substance in the product was clearly marked on the packaging, according to L’Équipe.
It is a substance that combats asthma but also has the ability to burn fat as well.
This substance is not listed on the AMA’s list of banned substances, even though it belongs to a category, beta-2 agonists, that is banned. A mistake by the authorities, but legally, Sakho has not made a mistake.
What’s more, when one types higenamine into the UKAD and AFLD websites, neither authorities’ page recognises the molecule.
In accordance with article 10 section 2 of the UEFA antidoping regulations, when there is an absence of significant negligence, the sanction is minimum a warning and maximum a two year ban.
Should UEFA, as expected, decide not to punish Sakho further, then it will be because they believe there is an absence of significant negligence on the part of the defender.
However, whatever UEFA’s decision, there is the possibility that the AMA doping agency decides to appeal the decision in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should UEFA, as expected, imminently announce the relaxation of Sakho’s suspension, then he is technically available for selection by Didier Deschamps for EURO 2016.
However, it seems that this turnaround has come too late for Sakho. Deschamps is almost certainly not going to pick him, mainly due to the fact that he has not played any professional football for an extended period of time…