WADA pays damages to Sakho over drugs ban

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The World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) has paid significant damages to Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho after admitting it incorrectly accused him of being a drugs cheat.

The France defender was suspended in 2016 after testing positive for a fat-burning substance called higenamine but he was cleared by European ruling body UEFA after it discovered that the drug was not on the WADA banned list.

In a statement on his Instagram feed, Sakho said he felt "vindicated" and that he could now "turn this page."

The 30-year-old missed the Europa League final for Liverpool in 2016 and blamed the ruling for costing him a place in France's squad for the Euro 2016 that summer.

The BBC quoted WADA's lawyer, Guy Vassall-Adams, as saying that the doping authority "accepts Mr Sakho did not breach the UEFA anti-doping regulations, did not cheat, had no intention of gaining any advantage and acted in good faith."

"WADA regrets the damage the defamatory allegations caused to Mr Sakho's reputation and the distress, hurt and embarrassment caused to him," he added.

Sakho said on Instagram that he could "now look forward to continuing my career" and that he was happy with the apology and the award of "substantial damages."

"There is nothing worse for an athlete than the suspicion of doping. I have lived through it with all the consequence it has had for my career, my image and even my personal life," he wrote.

"Receiving the official apology from WADA was for me something essential to be able to turn this page, to continue to move forward and above all, to pass on my experience."

Sakho left Liverpool in January 2017 to join Palace.