FIFA discuss Ferdinand fate

POTENTIAL punishments for England international defender Rio Ferdinand, who missed a drugs test in September, will be one of the topics discussed by FIFA’s sports medical committee later today.

The impact on football of the newly-revealed and formerly undetectable drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) will also be on the agenda along with another 25 cases and issues of doping-related cases from around the world.

Ferdinand has claimed he forgot to take the test at Manchester United’s training ground at Carrington on September 23 but faces a possible two-year ban from football if the English FA finds him guilty of wilfully missing a drugs test.

Dr Michel D’Hooghe, the Belgian chairman of the sports medical committee, confirmed yesterday that Ferdinand’s case, and possible punishments and recommendations to the English FA, will be addressed.

“I cannot say what will be the final decision of the committee, but the case of Rio Ferdinand is among a number of matters that will be discussed,” D’Hooghe said yesterday.

But D’Hooghe indicated it would be unlikely that any action will be taken by FIFA until the English FA judges on Ferdinand’s case.

“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 meeting,” he added.

“There are a number of options available but I will not try to predict what is discussed. This meeting has been planned for a long time and there are another 25 issues to be looked at. We will not only be talking about the issue of Rio Ferdinand, the issue of THG is another important matter that will be on the agenda.”

Meanwhile, the FA have just three days to wait before they discover their punishment for the infamous tunnel bust-up in Istanbul involving England players earlier this month.

UEFA yesterday charged both the English governing body and their Turkish counterparts for the improper conduct of their players during half-time of the Euro 2004 qualifier, which ended 0-0.

UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body will meet on Thursday when they will decide upon the level of punishment for the two countries.

Turkey also face an earlier-laid charge relating to flares being lit and a missiles thrown on to the pitch at the game.

The FA have co-operated fully with the European governing body in their investigations, asking former deputy chief executive of the PFA Brendan Batson to liaise with the England players and others to gather information on the incident.

“The FA was asked by UEFA to provide a statement as part of the European governing body’s investigation. This statement was submitted last week and the FA gave its full co-operation to UEFA’s enquiries,” said a statement on www.thefa.com.

“The FA will now give due consideration to today’s announcement by UEFA and will not make any further public comment before UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body meets on Thursday, October 30.”

And with charges being brought against the FA, the players themselves have escaped punishment as UEFA director of communications Mike Lee confirmed they were in the clear.

“There was no evidence against any single player that would enable a charge of violent conduct to be brought against a player,” he said.

“If they (the two FAs) are found guilty we are looking at some sort of a fine.”

Turkey defender Alpay berated England captain David Beckham after he missed a first-half penalty and the pair clashed again as they walked off at half-time. Other players became involved, and Italian referee Pierluigi Collina called both Beckham and Alpay into his room during the break to tell them to cool off.

However, Collina is believed not to have mentioned any individual player as being guilty of violent behaviour and, as a result, they have escaped punishment.

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