High Court rules on meaning in Sakho libel case


Mrs Justice Steyn today handed down a judgment on meaning in the libel case brought by Premier League footballer Mamadou Sakho against the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). The case concerns statements made by WADA to journalists following WADA’s decision not to appeal UEFA’s decision acquitting him of taking a prohibited substance. The main issue at the meaning hearing was whether the Court should determine only the meaning of the emails sued upon (statements made by WADA to journalists) or also the meaning of two articles relied upon by the Claimant to establish serious harm to his reputation. The Court accepted WADA’s submission that it should determine the meaning of the articles and went on to find that they bore a different meaning to the emails. The Claimant was granted permission to appeal these meanings.

Guy Vassall-Adams QC and Victoria Jolliffe acted for WADA, instructed by Gregory Lascelles of Covington and Burling LLP.