Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho faces a ban of up to four years after he effectively admitted taking a banned substance. He has been given a 30 day provisional ban before a UEFA hearing and is likely to miss Euro 2016.
Liverpool’s French international defender Mamadou Sakho has been provisionally suspended for 30 days and could be banned for up to four years for failing an anti-doping test, according to European soccer's governing body UEFA.
The organization said Sakho, 26, failed the test after his team’s Europe League last 16 clash with rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford last month. The match finished 1-1 and Liverpool progressed to the quarterfinals where they defeated Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool play Villarreal CF in the semifinals of the same competition on Thursday.
“(Sakho) did not request the analysis of the B sample. UEFA has now suspended the player provisionally for 30 days until a final decision is taken by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body," UEFA said.
The decision not to request the B sample is effectively an acceptance that Sakho admits to the presence of a prohibited substance in his system. The governing body’s statement went on to explain that a disciplinary hearing will be announced “at a later stage.”
French broadcasters BFM TV reported last week that Sakho took a fat burner called ephedrine, which is legal in the United States but illegal in the United Kingdom. His Liverpool team mate and fellow central defender Kolo Toure tested positive for a different weight loss drug, endroflumethiazide, while at Manchester City in 2011 and was banned for six months.
The maximum ban for Sakho’s offence is four years. The player had already been ruled out by his club and is almost certain to miss the rest of Liverpool’s season. He is also expected to miss Euro 2016 in his home country this summer. Liverpool have yet to comment on the case.
The club itself are unlikely to face sanctions from UEFA, due to anti-doping rules stating that a squad can only be disciplined if two or more members are found to be taking illegal substances.