Date published: Saturday 7th November 2020 10:11
Jurgen Klopp admitted his delight that former Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho can “finally” move on from doping allegations.
Sakho, now at Crystal Palace, received “substantial damages” from the World Anti-Doping Agency earlier this week. It was ruled that he was wrongfully suspended from football for 30 days back in April 2016.
The 30-year-old tested positive for a fat-burning substance called higenamine after a Europa League game against Manchester United. He missed the Reds’ Europa League final against Sevilla while also being omitted from France’s Euro 2016 squad.
The former Paris Saint-Germain stopper was cleared by UEFA’s disciplinary body in July 2016. It was discovered that the substance in question was not on WADA’s banned list, with uncertainty about its status.
WADA issued two statements at the time saying that Sakho was guilty of taking a prohibited performance-enhancing drug. Klopp dropped him from the Reds squad in summer 2016, citing attitude problems on a pre-season tour of the USA.
The Parisian joined the Eagles on loan in January 2017 before making the move permanent that summer. He has made 74 appearances for the Londoners and enjoyed four outings this term.
Things appear to be going well for the rangy centre-back and Klopp was relieved that the incident can now be put to bed.
“My initial thought was ‘finally!’” said the German tactician ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City. “We all knew it for a long time already that Mama did nothing wrong.
“Not only couldn’t he play the Europa League final, but he couldn’t play in the Euros as well if I’m not mistaken.
“I’m really happy for Mama that he got at least now the evidence that he did nothing wrong and it’s a very important thing.”
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Klopp ‘never really saw’ doping issues
Klopp has always maintained that Sakho’s Anfield departure was unrelated to the drugs ban.
The former Borussia Dortmund chief knows that performance-enhancing substances are part of the game. However, he made it clear that it is not something that has been an issue wherever he has managed.
“Doping is a problem, yes. But I never really saw it as a problem in football because I’m 30 years in it and never was in contact with any kind of it,” he added. “And if [there is], it’s because somebody made a silly decision not because they wanted to improve his recovery time or whatever.
“These were the doping cases I heard about, never was involved in. If you carry around the mark that you did doping, especially when you didn’t do it, that’s massive.”
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