Mamadou Sakho’s failed drugs test is becoming a bizarre affair.
When the Liverpool defender tested positive for what is understood to be a fat burning substance after his side’s Europa League match against Manchester United in March, it was expected that he would be handed a hefty ban.
Sakho was handed an initial 30-day ban by UEFA on April 28 which saw the Frenchman miss the remainder of the season - including the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.
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During this ban, UEFA continued to investigate the case but in a shock development last month, it was revealed that they had decided not to extend the suspension whilst opening an investigation whether the substance should even be on the banned list of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
But that’s not the end of it. Because it’s now been claimed that Sakho requested the original ban at his own will.
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UEFA’s chief medical and doping officer, Marc Vouillamoz, said, per L’Equipe: "Some substances cause an automatic suspension, others not. And in this case, the player wished to be suspended temporarily, of his own will, and UEFA acceded to his request.”
The case still hasn’t reached its conclusion with Vouillamoz saying: “To my knowledge, the disciplinary committee will decide fairly quickly on the case.
“Information was taken from experts, documents were passed to the defence of the player. Now the player has the opportunity to speak, and once the player has given its opinion, the Commission will look very quickly on the case.”
Liverpool fans have responded to this latest development by declaring their love for Sakho on Twitter with the defender seemingly returning to being a fan favourite as he was before this case began.
It’s not exactly clear why Sakho requested himself to be banned but many people are saying it was to protect the club whilst the investigation was going on. If Liverpool had gone on to win the Europa League with Sakho being investigated for a failed drugs test, it may have tarnished the victory.
But Jurgen Klopp and everyone associated with Liverpool must be wishing he was available for the final. Without their commanding defender, they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Sevilla, costing them a place in next season’s Champions League and meaning they will be without any form of European football.
They may not be featuring in Europe, but it appears Sakho could well be lining up for the opening match of next season’s Premier League campaign - something they could never have expected a couple of months ago.