Statement in Open Court in Mamadou Sakho v WADA

Premier League footballer settles claim against the World Anti-Doping Agency

A statement in open court was read today in the libel claim brought by Premier League and international footballer Mamadou Sakho against the World Anti-Doping Agency. Mr Sakho, who plays for Crystal Palace Football Club and the French national team, sued WADA over statements made in 2016 and 2017 in relation to anti-doping proceedings brought against Mr Sakho (in which he was found not to have committed an anti-doping violation).

Julian Santos of 5RB explained to Mr Justice Nicklin in a statement in open court that the statements contained defamatory allegations which had been republished in national newspapers and had caused very serious harm to Mr Sakho’s reputation, and that WADA had apologised, and agreed to pay a substantial sum by way of compensation and not to repeat the allegations.

Guy Vassall-Adams QC appeared for WADA, which retracted and apologised for the defamatory allegations. WADA accepted that it should not have made the defamatory allegations given that Mr Sakho had been acquitted by UEFA, and that 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 expressed its regret for the damage caused by the defamatory allegations to Mr Sakho’s reputation and the distress, hurt and embarrassment caused to him. WADA confirmed that it had agreed with its insurers to pay Mr Sakho a substantial sum of damages and had also agreed to bear Mr Sakho’s reasonable costs.

The statement in open court can be found here.

5RB’s Julian Santos, instructed by Morgan Sports Law, acted for Mr Sakho

Victoria Jolliffe, instructed by Covington & Burling LLP, acted as junior counsel for the World Anti-Doping Agency

The judgment on meaning can be found at the ‘Files’ link below.