Ferdinand suspended for four games

Craig Bellamy of Manchester City reacts after being hit by a coin thrown from the crowd at Old Trafford during the League Cup tie.

Craig Bellamy of Manchester City reacts after being hit by a coin thrown from the crowd at Old Trafford during the League Cup tie.


SOCCER NEWS:MANCHESTER UNITED are considering an appeal after Rio Ferdinand yesterday received a four-game ban for violent conduct, even though that could lead to the central defender being suspended for next month’s League Cup final.

Alex Ferguson believes United have been the victims of double standards after Ferdinand lost his appeal against an English Football Association charge for striking Hull’s Craig Fagan on Saturday and had a game added to his ban.

If the club launch an appeal it would be against the extra game’s suspension which was imposed because an independent regulatory commission ruled that it had been “frivolous” for the England international to contest the charge.

United would run the risk of having Ferdinand’s ban extended by another game if they appeal, ruling him out of the League Cup final against Aston Villa on February 28th. Ferdinand is due to return for that match after missing Premier League games against Arsenal, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Everton. The club must decide whether to appeal before close of business on Monday.

In their defence of Ferdinand, United cited the FA’s failure to charge Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano for a similar incident, involving the Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford, in a League Cup tie last September.

The club’s case was mostly based around Ferdinand’s claim that he had not meant to strike Fagan, but their legal team also argued that Mascherano’s offence had been more blatant and that it would be unfair to punish one player after letting off another.

“If it’s a fair hearing then he (Ferdinand) has a good chance,” Ferguson said, before the hearing. “He was wrestled and punched, all sorts of things happened to him, and he was just trying to wrestle free from it. Unfortunately for us, he’s caught him (Fagan) on the back of the head.”

United’s manager has not commented about the verdict but has been described as angry though not surprised.

Launching an appeal was a gamble on Ferdinand’s part, because of the possibility he could have his ban extended. Appealing, however, meant that he was able to take part in the League Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

He and Ferguson felt they should take a risk and prioritise that match despite the advice of Graham Bean, the former FA compliance officer who advises United on disciplinary matters and who represented the club at yesterday’s hearing.

Bean said United should accept the charge, citing the cases of the Sunderland defender Michael Turner and the Middlesbrough forward Jeremie Aliadiere, both of whom were given extended suspensions on the basis of unsuccessful appeals against charges of violent conduct.

The FA is unlikely to take any action against United after the City forward Craig Bellamy was struck on the head by a coin during Wednesday’s game and bottles were thrown from the crowd. Yesterday a man was charged over the Bellamy incident but the FA is satisfied with the club’s security arrangements

Manchester City’s owners in Abu Dhabi are starting to give serious consideration to the position of the chief executive, Garry Cook, at the end of the season after becoming increasingly perturbed about his leadership style and the frequency with which he has attracted bad publicity.

Cook has developed a reputation as one of the game’s more derided figures after a series of personal embarrassments in which his fondness for speaking his mind has come back to haunt him. The latest came in the build-up to the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Manchester United when he was filmed telling supporters in New York’s Mad Hatter Saloon that City would get to Wembley “not if, but when, we beat United again”.

Cook also proclaimed that City were on course to supersede United, Real Madrid and Barcelona as the “biggest and best club in the world”. He later claimed that he thought it was a closed event, despite the presence of television cameras as he took the microphone.

  • Guardian Service