Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'm Devastated Says Ferdinand

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I'm Devastated Says Ferdinand

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martyn Ziegler

Rio Ferdinand last night spoke of his devastation at being left out of the England squad to face Turkey on Saturday - a repercussion of the Manchester United defender's failure to attend a drugs test.

As the controversy over his omission from the squad gathered pace, Ferdinand released a statement insisting that he has never used or condoned the use of drugs.

Meanwhile, relations between Manchester United and the Football Association have deteriorated to an all-time low after the club expressed their outrage at the FA's handling of the situation.

Ferdinand's omission from the squad to travel to Turkey for Saturday's Euro 2004 Group 7 decider was confirmed yesterday.

He is expected to be charged with misconduct following an interview next week despite providing a negative sample 36 hours after the original test was meant to be carried out.

Ferdinand said: "I am absolutely devastated by this situation and I want to take this opportunity to categorically state that I have never used drugs or condoned the use of drugs in sport or in society.

"I have been routinely tested like all players throughout my career and the results have always been the same: negative, like the most recent test.

"The biggest dis- appointment is not being picked for England for a game which is so important not only to myself, but also the team and the England fans.

"I have worked hard from a young age to get where I am and to be left out of the squad at this crucial stage is devastating.

"I would like to express my gratitude for all the support I am getting from my family and friends, Sir Alex [Ferguson] and everyone else at Manchester United and the PFA." Manchester United are understood to beconsidering legal action over the case. In an astonishing attack on the game's governing body by the most high-profile club in the world, United claim the FA have "seriously compromised" Ferdinand's right to confidentiality. …

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