Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore has today been told by the FA that he has escaped a drugs ban after testing positive for cocaine.
It was revealed last month that the 25-year-old had turned to drugs in a state of "depression" following the death of a child, and now the FA has granted him a reprieve. The maximum sentence for drugs offences can be a two year ban from the FA.
This would have decimated the player's career, given that he is likely approaching his peak years. One player who was not quite as lucky is retired Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, who received a ban after he failed to show for a scheduled drugs test.
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Grammar-school educated Livermore had joined Hull for £8 million and is a player of promise. It will be hoped that he can use this second chance to force his way into England manager, Roy Hodgson's plans, with the European Championships coming up this summer.
The FA may have missed an opportunity here to show their zero tolerance towards drug use, though some commentators will commend the compassion shown.
The FA regulations for drug offences are as follows, for those:
Decisions taken under these regulations regarding exceptional or specific circumstances must be consistent. Therefore the following principles shall apply –
(a) Exceptional or specific circumstances will exist only where the circumstances are truly exceptional and not in the vast majority of cases;
(b) The evidence must be decisive and specific to explain the departure from expected standards of behaviour;
(c) A Player’s or Participant’s minority is not in itself a justification of a reduction of the minimum penalty, but youth and inexperience are factors to be taken into account in determining fault.