Rio Ferdinand banned for 8 months

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Manchester United soccer star Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months after he was found guilty of failing to take a drug test.

Rio Ferdinand banned for 8 months

Bolton:

Manchester United soccer star Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months and ruled out of the Euro 2004 European football competition on Friday after he was found guilty of failing to take a drug test. A three-man Football Association disciplinary committee found the England center back guilty of a misconduct charge. He was also fined 50,000 pounds (US$87,000). Manchester United, describing the sentence as "savage and unprecedented," said an appeal was "inevitable" and the players union leader described the sentence as "draconian." By contrast, Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency says Ferdinand was lucky not to get a longer ban. The suspension begins from January 12 next year which means he won't be available to play for England at the June 12-July 4 European Championships in Portugal. Unless he wins the appeal, he will also miss Manchester United's campaigns in both the Premier League and European Champions League. Ferdinand, who is due to face Tottenham in a league game on Sunday, has 14 days to lodge the appeal. In a case closely watched by FIFA and WADA, Ferdinand was accused of either failing or refusing a provide a sample when a drug test team went to United's training center Sept. 23. Ferdinand said at the time that he "forgot" to take the test while he was moving house. Although he tested negative two days later, the fact that he failed to give a sample is regarded as serious as testing positive. The verdict was announced by Nick Barron, spokesman for the independent commission after their two-day meeting at Bolton's Reebok Stadium. Minutes later, a stunned Ferdinand entered the same press conference room along with Manchester United director Maurice Watkins, who also is a lawyer for the club. Manager Alex Ferguson, who gave evidence in Ferdinand's defence, had left several hours earlier. "We are extremely disappointed by the result of this case and in particular by the savage and unprecedented sentence which makes an appeal inevitable," Watkins said in a statement. "I can confirm that Rio has the full support of Manchester United and the PFA. There will be no further comment at this stage." Pound warned that an appeal could lead to a longer ban. Ferguson gave evidence and so did a Manchester City player, Israeli international midfielder Eyal Berkovic, who was shopping with Ferdinand after the drug test was supposed to take place. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson didn't appear at the hearing but submitted a character reference statement. (AP)



Topics : Football
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