Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FA's Delay Puts Back Rio Ban

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FA's Delay Puts Back Rio Ban

Article excerpt

Byline: WAYNE VEYSEY

RIO FERDINAND looks certain to play against Wolves on 17 January even though his eight-month ban is due to start five days earlier.

It is understood the clarification Ferdinand's advisors demanded from the Football Association into the suspension for his missed drugs test will not be received until the middle of next week.

As the Manchester United defender has the right to ask for a full 14 days after receipt of the explanation before deciding whether to appeal, it would allow him to play any potential FA Cup third-round replay against Aston Villa and the Premiership game against Wolves.

It had originally been anticipated the clarification the England defender was seeking from the FA would be received early this week but the weight of work involved has made that impossible.

The delay means it could now be the end of next month or the beginning of March before any appeal is heard, dragging out a process which took three months just to hold the initial hearing.

It emphasises the problem FA chief executive Mark Palios faces in trying to speed up disciplinary procedures and is sure to attract the attention of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has criticised the handling of the case.

After the ban was announced, United director and solicitor Maurice Watkins branded it a "savage and unprecedented" punishment and said an appeal was "inevitable". Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has also suggested the 25-year-old should challenge the ban.

Meanwhile, Ruud van Nistelrooy has revealed he is set to sign a new five-and-a-half-year contract at United in a deal that will double his wages to around [pounds sterling]80,000 a week.

The striker's deal, which will give him pay parity with United's top earners like Roy Keane, should be completed this month.

Van Nistelrooy - who has scored 97 goals in 118 appearances for United - has been a huge success since arriving in 2001 from PSV Eindhoven for [pounds sterling]19. …

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