Innocent until proven guilty, this is something we should all remember. Every person is allowed the presumption of innocence, no matter what offence they have committed, whether its robbbing a bank or taking a substance to help you lose weight. (Thanks Brendan)
When it was announced that Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho had tested positive after the Manchester United game in the Europa League, of allegedly taking a banned substance, it was amazing to see how many Liverpool fans turned on him and how quickly it happened. I remember seeing so called Liverpool fans on social media calling him all sorts of things, not allowing him the presumption of innocence, all thinking he was guilty. Things even got heated between myself and some fans because some thought he was guilty without him even offering a defence or fans knowing the full facts of the case. When a rumour circulated that UEFA had banned Sakho for 4 years and that he was sacked by the club, I tweeted the above not knowing if it was true or not. As it turned out it was both false and misleading and made the account look amateurish. I should have known better.
As the whole saga raged on it was revealed that Sakho had asked to be banned from playing football, another decision which fans jumped on and again he was belittled and abused by a certain section of the Liverpool fan base. They took this request as an admission of guilt by him. For me this seemed like a logical decision, it took the heat of Liverpool at a crucial part of the season and put the focus solely on Sakho. It allowed the Liverpool players who at the time were preparing for a European Cup final to do so without a cloud hanging over them.
So when it was announced last night that Sakho had no case to answer, Liverpool fans around the world were not only overjoyed but also relieved because with Sakho now been cleared it means that manager Jürgen Klopp does not now have to dip in to the transfer market to buy another centre back. With Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Tiago Ilori already on the books, and now Mamadou Sakho available for selection the centre back position is pretty much sorted for the season ahead. Whatever money Klopp may have been putting aside for a centre back can be used elsewhere, say in the left back position.
As this whole saga has rumbled on, Sakho kept a dignified silence. He focused on his numerous charity projects and left the fighting to his lawyers. But today, after UEFA cleared him of any wrong doing he released the following statement “The truth always comes out in the end! I can finally express myself and above all it’s important for me to thank all of you for your trust and your support that you have been communicating during those two months and a half! You have been there for me #YNWA, I will always be there for you giving all my best on the field! I would like aswell to congratulate my mates of Équipe de France de Football for their amazing race!!! You make us dream, we are thrilling for you!!! Come on les Bleus, Come on France!!! #Fierdetrebleus”
What next for Sakho, well first and foremost he now has to play is way back in to the Liverpool first team after Lovren’s good end to last season. Then there’s UEFA. They made a decision not knowing the full facts of the case, sullied Sakho’s reputation and have cost him the opportunity of winning a major international competition with his country. If I was Sakho I would be thinking about sueing them or at least looking for an apology from them. Whatever happens Sakho’s cult hero status at Liverpool has grown throughout this whole saga.