Anorak News | Rio Banned

Rio Banned

by | 8th, October 2003

‘IT is not exactly the most ideal preparation for what is undoubtedly the most important game England have played since last year’s World Cup quarter-final against Brazil.

Innocent until proven guilty?

All 24 members of the squad have apparently said they will boycott Saturday’s match against Turkey if Rio Ferdinand isn’t reinstated to the squad.

The Manchester United centre-half has been left out on FA instructions after failing to turn up for a random drugs test.

“Frantic negotiations were continuing last night,” the Sun says, “in a bid to resolve the row before the squad leaves for Istanbul in 24 hours.”

But so far FA chiefs have refused to back down and coach Sven Goran Eriksson is caught in the middle of an incredible stand-off.

“I could not imagine a worse build-up to a match of the importance of the one we face in Istanbul,” the Swede said.

But former England manager Graham Taylor believes the FA had no choice but to axe Ferdinand even though he has not yet been charged with any offence.

“It’s all very well asking if the FA can afford to do something – but the question is can they afford not to?” he says.

Not so, says PFA boss Gordon Taylor. “He’s been named and shamed without a positive test,” he claims.

Over in the Mirror, Oliver Holt lays into Ferdinand’s employers, Manchester United, and in particular chief executive David Gill, whom he accuses of offering “legalistic semantics” in his player’s defence.

“”What would you say if a Chinese swimmer drove off at high speed one day when the testers came calling?” he asks.

“Would you presume her innocence, would you say she was obviously preoccupied with doing the laundry or would you think she had something to hide?”

Meanwhile, the Express has more bad news for England fans with the news that Michael Owen is almost certain to miss the flight anyway because of his calf injury.

And an England game wouldn’t be an England game without an injury scare over David Beckham, so we are relieved to see the captain arriving for training with his thigh strapped.

Small wonder that Turkish striker Hakan Sukur says his team are laughing as England stumble from one crisis to another.’

Posted: 8th, October 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink