UEFA criticises WADA over Sakho drug test

UEFA had criticised the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a mistaken drug flag over Premier League defender Mamadou Sakho.

Sakho, who was then playing for Liverpool, had been banned on April 2016 after being tested positive for higenamine, a form of fat-burner, following the second leg of Liverpool’s Europa League last-16 tie against Manchester United in the previous month.

Sakho was subsequently suspended as Liverpool officials agreed it would be prudent to omit him from games amidst the investigation. and he was then provisionally suspended by UEFA.

However, in early June UEFA absolved Sakho of taking a performance-enhancing drug and went further yesterday by releasing a report pointing out that higenamine is not specifically listed on WADA’s prohibited list.

The report by UEFA also points out conflict between experts about whether higenamine is among a group of drugs classified as B2–agonists — all of which are banned by WADA.

Additionally, it was also asserted WADA laboratories do not routinely test for the drug substance, and that if Sakho’s sample had been handled by the Lausanne laboratory and not Cologne’s then it would not have been tested for higenamine.

A line of the report reads: “Higenamine is not expressedly mentioned by name on WADA’s prohibited list. The fact that the Cologne laboratory tested for higenamine but had to check with Wada before making a determination indicates a problem, as does the fact that the Lausanne laboratory does not test for higenamine at all.”

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