Jake Livermore: Hull City midfielder 'not at fault in any sense' for failed drugs test

The 25-year-old's 'cognitive functions and judgement' were ruled to have been 'severely impaired' following the death of his son in May

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The Independent Football

The “devastating effect” on the mental health of Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore was so profound that he was not to blame for taking cocaine and subsequently failing a drugs test at the end of last season, a Football Association independent disciplinary commission has ruled.

The FA released the full details of the commission’s judgement, albeit with five pages describing Livermore’s mental state redacted. Such was the strength of the commission’s conviction that Livermore was “not negligent or at fault in any real sense” that it even waived costs.

The 25-year-old’s “cognitive functions and judgement” were ruled to have been “severely impaired” following the death of his son Jake junior on 19 May. Born by caesarean section to Livermore’s long-term partner following a pregnancy of no complications, the child’s death, the commission chairman David Casement QC said, had a “devastating effect on Mr Livermore, his partner and their families”.

The player tested positive for the banned substance benzoylecgonine in a test taken following Hull’s win at Crystal Palace on 25 April. He was informed by the FA on 13 May and, provisionally suspended. He has not played since. Benzoylecgonine is the main metabolite of cocaine.

Evidence was submitted to the commission from, among others, Livermore’s partner; Steve Bruce, the Hull manager; Tom Huddlestone, Livermore’s Spurs and latterly Hull team-mate; Mark Waller, the club doctor and Livermore’s father, Kevin. Casement said that the commission decided “concepts such as fault and appropriateness of sanction are entirely inappropriate in the circumstances”.

The redaction of the commission’s written reasons was because both sides agreed the details were “sensitive”.

“This decision is not intended to set a precedent,” the commission ruled, “however [it] is a very rare case”.

The commission directed that Livermore take a rehabilitation and education course and he will be target tested for one year. The commission said that the FA process had been beneficial “as it enabled a player in need of support to be identified.”