Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rio Ferdinand faces suspension

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will be charged with deliberately missing his anti-doping test, leading to the possibility of a two-year ban. On the eve of the England's match against Turkey in Euro 2004 qualifications,
one of the best defenders of the world simply refused to be tested against forbidden substances.

Only days after this, the news about Dwain Chambers, another British top-rank athlete, shook the world of
Athletics. During the unravelling of this story, some American sports stars were also found positive on the new
super steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG).

Is there a possible steroid-contamination of the football, as well as athletics?

To add insult to the injury, some tabloids published Ferdinand's mobile-phone number. On the other hand, Football Association is taking it's sweet time regarding verdict on this case. The FA's complaining unit, led by Steve Barlow, is still examining the evidence, and is keen to ensure fairness to all sides following Ferdinand's failure to take a drug test on September 23rd ? that is the official version.

Adrian Bevington, FA spokesman said: "In the interest of all parties concerned, and football in general, the FA
will proceed through all the facts with due diligence before making any decision as to what further steps within the process may be taken. Therefore, we will not be setting any deadlines as to when the FA will make an announcement concerning their decision on reviewing the evidence. We have no plans to issue any further comment until this stage of the process is concluded."

The England defender was selected at random by UK Sport anti-doping officials to take a drug test on United's training ground in Carrington. But, he left the place, claiming that he had forgotten, because he was moving from one house to another. He claims he tried to reschedule the test for later in the day by phone. The documents he and Manchester United submitted includes his mobile phone record, which could provide decisive evidence in this case.

As the things are, Ferdinand is certain to face at least a charge of failing to attend an anti-doping test. It may become aggravated if the FA gathers evidence that he did it deliberately. In such a case, that would most probably mean a long ban from the green fields.

On the other hand, United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson is standing by his defender. At the same time, he claims that there will be no mercy for any player using drugs: " If there were any danger of one of our players dabbling in any kind of drug, be it to enhance his performance, or for his social life, he would quickly be gone from Manchester United," Ferguson said in his interview to the News Of The World.

FIFA also took interest in this case. It's Anti Doping Committee will discuss the Ferdinand's case on Tuesday, and it is possible that they will hand the England defender its own punishment over the missed drugs test.

"We will look at the case and how it has been addressed already. But, there will be no decisions announced or recommendations made until after the English FA meeting," said Dr. Michael D'Hooghe, chairman of the Committee. "There are a number of options available but I will not try to predict what is discussed. This meeting has been planne for a long time, and there are another 25 issues to be looked at. We will not be only talking about the matter of Rio Ferdinand and the issue of tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), although those are very important matters on our agenda."

Neven Luledzija,
Paris
Rio Ferdinand faces suspension



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