Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ferdie Weighs Up His Options

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ferdie Weighs Up His Options

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Stone

Rio Ferdinand will wait for the detailed judgement into the failed appeal against his eight-month ban for a missed drugs test before deciding whether to take the matter even further.

The 25-year-old Man-chester United star has the option of challenging the suspension at the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport in an attempt to reduce the lengthy penalty upheld by an independent three-man panel in London yesterday.

However, having already served two months of his sentence, Ferdinand must weigh-up the time it will take for the appeal to be heard, plus the likelihood of any reduction before he reaches a final decision given the Court is located in the heartland of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has been vocal in his demands for a strong sentence.

"Rio is naturally disappointed," said club director and solicitor Maurice Watkins on behalf of Ferdinand, who sat beside him as the reaction to the outcome was confirmed.

"We believe that the suspension of eight months was unduly harsh and unprecedented. That remains our view."

A United statement added: "We are disappointed given the nature of the appeal.

"As the detailed judgement has not yet been received, it is impossible at this stage for the club to make any further comment."

While Ferdinand had started the day still believing he would be allowed to play in this summer's European Championship, the United contingent, led by Watkins, were more realistic.

But even their hope that the ban would at least be cut to a length that would allow United's pounds 29.3m record signing to play a full part in pre-season training this summer was dashed.

Instead, Ferdinand now knows he will miss the remainder of the domestic campaign, the first month of the next one, all of Euro 2004, plus England's first two World Cup qualifiers in Austria and Poland.

The only solace for the former Leeds and West Ham star was that the three-man appeal panel, chaired by Ian Mill QC and also including FA chairman Geoff Thompson and FA councillor Roger Burden, declared Ferdinand drug free. …

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