Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended by UEFA today pending the outcome of an investigation into his failed doping test. Following news of the failed test, the club and player agreed he would be unavailable for selection while the investigation was ongoing, but he wasn’t suspended.
Now he is. Officially it’s only a 30-day suspension, one that serves as confirmation that he cannot be selected by his club and that his season is over. Those 30 days are unlikely to be the end of it, though, as this isn’t a 30-day suspension as punishment for running afoul of UEFA’s doping regulations by taking an unspecified fat burner.
By the time the 30 days are up, if the investigation hasn’t been concluded, it is expected that UEFA would then extend the suspension ensure Sakho could not be selected by France ahead of this summer’s Euros. And if the investigation has been completed, it is widely expected there will be a lengthy suspension to go along with that.
Kolo Toure was investigated by the English FA for a similar offence in 2011 while with Manchester City, and he ended up banned six months as a result—backdated to when he was first suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. However, under UEFA regulations, a ban of up to two years is possible for a doping offence.
Depending on the specifics of Sakho's offence, his future at the club could be in doubt. Should he show, as Toure did, that it was an innocent mistake and only end up banned for a matter of months, it is likely he would remain in Liverpool's long-term plans. A two-year ban, though, would likely signal the end of his time at Anfield.