Jake Livermore: Hull City midfielder avoids ban over cocaine

Jake Livermore
Jake Livermore joined Hull from Spurs in 2014 after a loan spell

Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore will face no suspension after testing positive for cocaine, the Football Association has confirmed.

The 25-year-old was suspended by the FA and his club in May after failing a drug test, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

Livermore tested positive after the death of his newborn son, Jake Junior.

An FA statement said he was not given a ban because of "the specific and unique nature of the circumstances".

The FA's full written reasons, compiled following a hearing at Wembley on 2 September, stated:

  • Livermore's son died in the early hours of 19 May 2014 - less than 48 hours after Hull lost the FA Cup final to Arsenal
  • The death of Jake Junior had a "devastating effect" on Livermore, his partner and their families
  • Livermore's "cognitive functions and judgement were severely impaired" on the occasion he took cocaine
  • The player did not intend to enhance his performance as an athlete
  • Livermore was notified of the failed test on 13 May 2015, relating to a urine sample given after a Premier League match against Crystal Palace on 25 April 2015
  • A B sample was tested on 20 May 2015 and also returned a positive result
  • The commission determined the incident a "one-off"; Livermore had never previously used recreational drugs and 10 previous tests had all returned negative results
  • Hull manager Steve Bruce and Livermore's team-mate Tom Huddlestone were among those to present witness statements
  • Livermore must undertake a course of rehabilitation and education and will be target tested for a period of one year

'A very rare case'

Six pages of testimony relating to the impact the death of Jake Junior had had on Livermore were redacted in the published findings as they were "simply so sensitive and private".

The commission added that the mitigating circumstances placed the case into a category "regarded as exceptional and indeed unique".

The commission noted its decision was "not intended to set a precedent".

"It will be a very rare case that does not fall within the express sanctions provided under the regulations and the World Anti-Doping Code," it added in its conclusion. "This however is a very rare case."

Hull said they would keep confidential any internal disciplinary matters while continuing to support the player in his recovery.

Livermore's club suspension has also been lifted, meaning he is available for selection. He was involved in light training on Thursday morning after being given the summer off.

Jake Livermore with his Hull City team-mates after a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace
Jake Livermore failed an in-competition drugs test following Hull's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in April

Tigers chairman Assem Allam said he was happy Livermore had been able to start training again.

"I am very pleased," he told BBC Look North. "He is a good man and he has been through things that you wish no man would ever have to go through."

City boss Bruce told the BBC last month that the death of Livermore's son had been a "mitigating factor" in his failed drug test.

Livermore, who faced a possible two-year ban, joined Hull from Spurs for £8m in August 2014 after a season-long loan, making 35 league appearances last season as the Tigers were relegated to the Championship.