Players threaten boycott, want Ferdinand back

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

England's players are threatening to boycott Saturday's decisive Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey unless defender Rio Ferdinand is reinstated.

Players threaten boycott, want Ferdinand back

St Albans:

England's players showed up for training today amid reports they are threatening to boycott Saturday's decisive Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey unless defender Rio Ferdinand is reinstated to the squad. Striker Michael Owen, still nursing a leg injury, was the only member of the 24-man squad who missed the training session. The Liverpool star is considered a major doubt for Saturday's game in Istanbul. Beckham, others vote for boycottBritish newspapers reported that the players - including captain David Beckham - voted unanimously last night to boycott the game after Ferdinand was excluded from the team for failing to take a random drug test last month. Football Association communications chief Paul Barber said there had been "amicable discussions" with the players and denied any strike threat. "At no time - and David Beckham has asked me to make this clear - did any of the players at that meeting threaten to walk out of the squad," he said in a statement. "The meeting was deliberately set up to be a private meeting and will remain that way." Meeting to resolve disputeFA chief executive Mark Palios was expected to meet with the players again today to resolve the dispute. Gordon Taylor, head of the English players' union, indicated the players were serious about a possible walkout. "They were not just going to take it lying down," he said. "They are extremely upset. We have a very difficult situation to resolve. Rio's a colleague of theirs. They feel he has been badly treated." Taylor said the players "have to make their views known and hope they get a positive reaction." (AP)



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