Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended after the club was notified that he was being investigated over a failed drug test.
The doping violation is reportedly related to Liverpool’s Europa League second-leg tie at Manchester United last month and concerns a fat-burning substance.
Although Liverpool have practically suspended the player until the matter is resolved, the wording of their official statement is designed to show that they stand by their player.
The Liverpool club statement said: “Yesterday, a formal communication was received from Uefa stating that they are investigating a possible anti-doping rule violation by Mamadou Sakho. The player will respond to Uefa on the matter.”
“The player is currently not subject to any playing suspension. However, the club, in consultation with the player, has decided that while this process is followed the player will not be available for selection for matches.”
The France international is now likely to ask for his B sample to be tested, although if he has taken a fat-burning diet pill (as his Liverpool team-mate Kolo Toure did in 2011), Sakho could be banned for six months (as Sakho was), which would prevent him from participating in Euro 2016 as well as miss the start of next season.
Sakho is still eligible for selection but that is perhaps designed to protect Liverpool from any liability that might occur if Sakho was proven guilty.
As per the club, Sakho is committed to proving his good faith and will respond to UEFA to clear his name. In similar cases in the past players have always had a close member of their entourage recommend them a pill for weight loss – where will Sakho’s defence take him?