Fergie Attacks 'Independence' of Rio Drug Panel

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Byline: IAN LADYMAN

SIR ALEX FERGUSON last night criticised the makeup of the three-man commission which confirmed the eight month ban on Rio Ferdinand for missing a drugs test.

The Manchester United manager refused to discuss the ban in detail but did not rule out an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

As Ferguson struggled to find 11 fit players for today's home game against Tottenham, he said: 'The FA did say it was going to be an independent tribunal. You would have to ask them what that means.

There is a sense of shock here at the moment and we are just trying to digest and absorb what has happened.' However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said a lesson of the Ferdinand case was that testing in football should be stepped up, with tests carried out after every match.

Wenger said: 'It happens in other sports and I think it will happen in the Premiership.

'It doesn't matter if Ferdinand was positive or not. The FA was in a trap.

It had to take action for the credibility of the testing system.

'I don't know whether Ferdinand-was guilty or not. But it's a warning to the players that they won't get away with not taking a test.' While Ferguson deals with a lengthening injury list that could see striker Louis Saha undergo surgery on an achilles injury, he warned his Premiership rivals that his team will be better than ever in the seasons to come. …