NYON: European federation UEFA has criticised the World Anti-Doping Agency over the failed drugs test provided by Mamadou Sakho who was wrongly suspended towards the end of last season.
The Liverpool player was given a 30-day ban after his test result on March 17, and which led to UEFA mistakenly believing that the substance higenamine was on the prohibited list.
The defender subsequently missed out on the Europa League final against Sevilla, and lost the chance to represent hosts France at the European Championship finals in June and July.
Sakho, who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace, confirmed to Liverpool he had taken a fat burner. But UEFA has claimed that WADA failed to communicate its view of the substance to the laboratories it was using in Cologne and Lausanne.
UEFA reports says: “It is clearly not possible for anyone, laboratory disciplinary body, football player or otherwise to know whether or not higenamine is a prohibited substance by reading 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 it.
“The onus is clearly on WADA to communicate to its laboratories what is and what is not on the prohibited list.”
Many of UEFA’s criticisms were misplaced, according to WADA spokesman Ben Nichols.
He said: “Higenamine has been considered prohibited ever since the 2004 Prohibited List, however it was expressly named [for the first time] on the 2017 List as an example of a selective and non-selective beta-2-agonist.
“With regards to the case of Mamadou Sakho, WADA, with the support of its List Expert Group, thoroughly reviewed the full case file along with recently published articles on higenamine.
“WADA supported the List Expert Group’s unanimous view that higenamine is a beta2-agonist and does indeed fall within the S3 class of the Prohibited List. It was decided, however, after careful review of the specific circumstances of the case, that WADA not lodge an appeal.”
He added: “Whilst higenamine has been considered prohibited since 2004, its prevalence within dietary supplements has surfaced more recently.
“Therefore, in early August 2016, Wada requested its network of accredited laboratories to implement systematic testing for higenamine; although, it is clear that some laboratories already conducted routine testing for higenamine before this date.”