Mamadou Sakho could be forced into a bitter legal battle with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after a spokesperson hinted at a potential challenge to his drug infringement ruling.
Sakho was made to miss the Europa League final and the European Championships after coming under investigation for failing a drugs test taken after Liverpool's European fixture against Manchester United on March 17.
After being provisionally suspended for 30 days, UEFA took the decision to dismiss the case on Friday, but the investigation is far from over in WADA's eyes.
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Having spent four months trying to clear his name, Sakho's representatives are now believed to be mounting a case to sue WADA for defamation. But WADA retains the right to appeal UEFA's decision and, speaking to The Telegraph, a source claimed it was being seriously considered.
A spokesman told the British broadsheet: “We are awaiting the reasoned decision as it relates to this one.”
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Indeed, it is believed that WADA will have to overturn UEFA's decision if they are to avoid being sued by the Liverpool centre-back. There is also a concern that failure to see Sakho punished will severely damage its standing in world sport and harm its chances of fighting doping in the future.
Pushing for reparation
The Telegraph go onto to make the substantial claim that UEFA were fully prepared to drop the case against Sakho much earlier, only for WADA to insist on a full enquiry.
It is believed the global agency took a firm stance very early in proceedings after Sakho tested positive for a drug called higenamine.
Even the director at the Cologne laboratory in which Sakho's sample was tested originally adjudged the fat-burning substance not to be a banned substance. However, he double-checked with WADA, who told him it was prohibited compound known as a beta2 agonist. He was then advised to report a failed test.
But it came with some surprise to learn that the vast majority of WADA laboratories do not even test for higenamine, bringing up serious questions as to why they have come on so strongly against Sakho.
Liverpool have told Sakho to hire Mike Morgan, who is one of the world's leading anti-doping lawyers. Morgan has already looked into the science surrounding WADA's ban on higenamine and determined it to be far from convincing.
It was that scrutiny that saw UEFA ultimately decide to drop the charges against Sakho, leaving WADA at a crossroads.