(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) apology to Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho for a drugs ban in 2016 was long overdue but that he was pleased the French defender had finally cleared his name.
The Crystal Palace centre back, who was a Liverpool player at the time, was investigated by UEFA and given a provisional 30-day ban in April 2016 after he tested positive for the fat burner Higenamine.
Sakho missed that year's Europa League final against Sevilla and Euro 2016 as a result, but UEFA dismissed the doping case against him in July and later confirmed that Higenamine had not been on WADA's list of prohibited substances at the time.
A lawyer for WADA apologised to Sakho in open court in London on Wednesday and agreed to pay damages to the 30-year-old.
"My initial thought was 'finally!'" Klopp said. "We knew for a long time already that Mama did nothing wrong. It was a massive blow. I'm really happy that he got at least now the evidence that he did nothing wrong.
"Doping is a problem, yes. But I never really saw it as a problem in football because I'm 30 years in it and never was in contact with any kind of it.
"And if there is, it's because somebody made a silly decision, not because they wanted to improve his recovery time or whatever.
"If you carry around the mark that you did doping, especially when you didn't do it, that's massive. So I'm really happy he's freed of all of these things."
Sakho did not play again for Liverpool after failing the drugs test, and moved to Crystal Palace first on loan and then on a permanent deal.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)