Your verdict: Rio ruled out

March 19, 2004
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

Rio Ferdinand's appeal to have his eight month ban reduced, or overturned, has been rejected by an independent panel. The three man judiciary also rejected a request from the FA to increase the ban to one year.

Ferdinand's defence argued that Edgar Davids and Jaap Stam both received lesser sentences for actually failing tests and also included an analysis of hair follicles to prove he has not taken drugs.

The defender's appeal was rejected and his suspension means he will miss the rest of Manchester United's season and this summers European Championships.


I cannot understand why people are fussing over the issue. If you are employed and earn what this guy earns, you must have the sense of responsibility to fulfill your obligations. Missing a drugs test that is an obligation for your job under the guise of forgetfulness is absurd.

For all of us who are employed, when you miss an important meeting to evaluate your performance with your bosses or a watchdog, you are fired, straightaway. If low paid hard working people suffer the brunt when they forget, why shouldn't he? Why all the excuses?

I feel that he should be made an example of what happens when careless rich boys abdicate the responsibilities that go with their privilege. I have always suspected that most of them do not have the presence of responsibility to match their privilege in life.
Daudi Sumba, Zimbabwe

Jaap Stam, Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids, Fernando Couto and Josep Guardiola all received less than eight months for testing positive for nandrolone. Manchester City's Christian Negouai failed to attend a drugs test and only received a fine. In these circumstances how can the FA justify an eight month ban for Rio Ferdinand for missing a drugs test.

I understand that upon missing a drugs test it is presumed that the individual is guilty of taking drugs, however, analysis of Ferdinand's hair certified that the player had not taken drugs. Ferdinand called the testers on the day of his mistake and then passed a test a few days later - when the testers could be bothered to return.

When it is blatantly obvious that Ferdinand did not take drugs and therefore had no reason to purposely avoid the test, other than simple stupidity, an eight month ban seems excessive. Even if Ferdinand had been unable to prove that he was 'clean' and it was assumed he had taken drugs and purposely missed the test an eight month ban still can't be justified when looking at the precedents mentioned above.
Daniel Blake

The Rio affair is, to my mind, a stupid affair. He deserves what he gets and probably he should get more!

Now before anybody accuses me of being a member of the anti MU brigade, let me say that I have been a MU supporter since the 70s. How could a club, touted as being the richest and the biggest in the universe, fail to ensure the attendance of the most expensive defender in the universe for a drug test, knowing the severity of such offence to be at par with drug taking itself?

The biggest club in the world must have the best administration and management. How could the best management and administration fail to ensure Rio's attendance?

Yes, the point is, Sir Alex failed, as a manager, to ensure Rio's attendance. It is Sir Alex's failure, as a manager. It's that simple! He should, as a manager, take the blame.
Azhar, Kuala Lumpur

While I am a great supporter of drug ban, it is imperative that we find them guilty first. It is also important that we stay focused and understand the nature of the individual sport that we are dealing with.

For instance, athletics and swimming has few major competitions in a year and these athletes can continue to train while missing few competitions. However, for soccer, or any annual league sports like rugby or basketball, a year's ban means missing many crucial games. So comparing a ban between different sports by the number months is not appropriate.

In addition, we also have to bear in mind that a ban affects individual and team sports very differently. In a team sport such as soccer, a lengthy ban will also adversely affect the other team members who are drug-free. And last, but not least, the financial position of a club may also be affected.
KC

It didn't surprise me when the FA rejected Ferdinand's appeal. After all, it sickens me to think that right from the very beginning, the FA was determined to make an example out of the most expensive player in the richest sporting club in the world, and you can't expect fair and impartial treatment with that attitude.

It doesn't help the case when you have the likes of Coe, who himself is no legal expert, wants to punish the player to the fullest extent, without considering all the facts surrounding the case.

To me, the facts are very simple: Ferdinand forgot to take the drug test. He upon realizing it immediately called to offer to take it. But the testers had already left. A few days later he took the test and came clean. If somebody lied in the process I'm sure the first hearing would have revealed that, but the facts were never in question.

It sounds to me the FA were never willing to listen to the story in the first place and attempts by Ferdinand to mitigate the circumstances were deliberately overlooked. The fact that other players who actually FAILED the drug test got a lesser punishment was conveniently ignored.

Now what do you expect from these people?
Isaac Wong. Canada

Palios and Pound are a pair of officious morons. Fine if Rio was found guilty of taking drugs but he missed a test. I missed my doctors appointment but he didn't refuse to see me for 8 months.

The club should be punished not Rio - they should have made sure he was there at the appointed time. When will common sense ever prevail?
Steve Waters

I wondered why some rules are so silly yet find people with the best brain still follow them. What is the main objective of conducting the random drug test and punishment of those who failed to take the test if selected?

It is to catch those who are on drugs and suspend them from future participation of the sport. So if Ferdinand has been proven that he is not on drugs and did not take the test because of forgetfulness, then why was he suspended from playing for 8 months - and those who took the test, and where found positive were given a lighter suspension.

It doesn't make sense, does it? What a joke on all these autocratic brainless sport administrators who are trying to rid sports from drug consumption.
Cheong Yong Meng, Singapore

Will Mr. Ferdinand be returning any of his pay to MUFC? Or voluntarily extending his contract with MUFC on the same terms to compensate the club for their lost investment during the suspension that has resulted from his forgetfulness?

I'm sure this may be of interest to the regular fans who can only dream of Mr. Ferdinand's compensation, which will obviously be built into ticket prices and MUFC merchandise.
Curious

I find it extremely perplexing that somebody who had failed to take a drugs test is given a stiffer penalty than others who actually failed the test. If the anti doping agency is worried that sports people would deliberately miss drugs tests to avoid detection of banned substance, then they should take the offender's hair sample and test it for drugs. If the person refuses, then give him or her as severe a punishment as possible.

Rio Ferdinand should be punished for being stupid. But, is what is happening now right? I don't think so.

If this is the way we should treat stupid people, then people like Sepp Blatter, the what's his name head of the English FA and Alex Ferguson should be banned for life for being even more stupid. The whole mess is the result of more stupid decisions on top of previous stupid decisions.
Bob Francis, Malaysia

One would have thought that a club of Manchester United's resources and organization would have a fail-safe system in place to ensure that their players don't miss their drug's tests. If not, then they deserve to get their due punishment, and Ferguson was a fool not to get a replacement for Rio.
F Tay

As a Bolton fan I do not have a love of Man Utd. However I think the F.A.'s treatment of Rio Ferdinand is disgraceful and I was most disappointed that the F.A. did not take this chance to rectify their treatment. There is a very strong precedent set in european football that players who tested positive for drugs, have been given 6 month bans. But Rio, who hasn't even tested positive for drugs, gets 8 months. I'm not saying Rio has not done anything wrong, but surely a 6 month ban is fairer with the precedent set.

I also feel that the drugs ban should be increased to 2 years to fall in line with athletics and send a strong message out to footballers that using drugs is wrong (which is the main reason why people are saying Rio's ban should be increased). But I think it's wrong that a high-profile player case such as Rio's should be used to try and increase the ban as that makes Rio a scapegoat.

If Mr Blatter, who has campaigned so much for Rio's ban to be increased, is really concerned with drugs in football then he must bring in a rule that from now on any footballer across the world is tested positive for drugs or misses a drug test will automatically be banned for 2 years.
Vincent Whitworth, Liverpool

It is ridiculous that the FA actually tried to extend the ban. They're shooting themselves in the foot. Ferdinand gets 8 months for missing a drug test and the likes of the Leicester trio can actually come back and play after the La Manga incident. It doesn't make any sense.

Gavin, Malaysia

I do not support drug taking in any sport but even I can not understand why Rio has got 8 months and Davids and the others guilty of taking drugs only got 6 months. This penalty is unjust and harsh and I feel sorry for the player.

If he had taken drugs he should be banned for life but there is no suggestion he has. For missing a test is stupid and he should be banned but 2-3 months is quite fair.
Brian Woodhouse

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