Mamadou Sakho could make an unexpected appearance for France at Euro 2016 after UEFA opted against extending the defender’s 30-day ban for a failed drugs test.
UEFA has delayed a hearing regarding the Liverpool defender’s failed drugs test but it has since been claimed that they have opted not to extend the provisional suspension issued last month. The 26-year-old tested positive for a banned substance – reportedly a fat burner – after the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 17.
Sakho declined the chance to submit a B sample after UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him on April 28, with that ban expiring on Saturday.
The Liverpool Echo claims that Sakho’s defence questioned whether the substance he had taken should even be on the prohibited list – leading to UEFA ordering their own disciplinary body to first investigate whether the substance should even be on the WADA list.
Liverpool have declined to comment on the situation until the process is concluded.
It means that Sakho could still join up with Didier Deschamps’ French squad for the European Championships in his home country, despite being left out of the initial provisional party, with the deadline for the squad submittal May 31.
Defenders Jeremy Mathieu and Raphael Varane have already withdrawn from the squad through injury, and although a replacement has already been called up in Lyon’s Samuel Umtiti, Deschamps could still choose to call up the Reds defender to his final 23-man squad.
Liverpool decided to make Sakho unavailable for selection after the charge was initially handed down and the Frenchman missed the Reds’ final seven fixtures, including the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.
In a brief statement on Sakho, UEFA said: “The 30-day provisional suspension ends today.
“The chairman of the control, ethics and disciplinary body decided not to extend it.
“The player would thus be free to play as from tomorrow. A decision on the case will be made within the next few days.”