Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Countdown to the Appeal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Countdown to the Appeal

Article excerpt

September 23: A UK Sport team arrive at Manchester United's Carrington training ground to carry out random tests. Ferdinand is one of four players chosen after names were picked out of a hat. The players are allowed to shower after training before their tests but Ferdinand leaves before doing so and goes shopping in Manchester city centre. The centre-back is finally contacted by his club but it is too late for him to return as the testers have left. He tells United he forgot the test as he was in the process of moving home.

September 24: Ferdinand eventually takes an official drugs test, which he passes.

Late September: The FA receive official notification from Sport England and start to gather evidence, while attempting to speed up the process as an England squad announcement looms.

October 3: The FA send a letter to Ferdinand, saying UK Sport have advised them of his failure to attend a test.

October 4: Talks begin behind the scenes with Manchester United as the club are contacted by the FA and informed of the FA's likely course of action. United call in their lawyers.

October 5: The England squad announcement, due at 7pm, is delayed until the next day.

October 6: The FA's developing view that Ferdinand cannot be picked in the squad starts to harden. Efforts are made to hold the interview with Ferdinand that must precede any official charge before the squad is named. Ferdinand rejects the chance to move this interview forward. The FA therefore postpone the squad announcement once again as their compliance unit fly to Manchester.

October 7: Still no meeting with Ferdinand is possible, so Sven-Goran Eriksson is told the centre-back must be left out of the squad. The FA hold an early-evening meeting with leading players, including the players' committee of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Sol Campbell and Gary Neville, who hold deep reservations at Ferdinand's exclusion. England players meet, with Paul Barber, the FA's director of communications, asked to present his views. Once Barber has left, a vote is taken and the players unanimously agree they will threaten to strike if Ferdinand is not recalled. …

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