Anorak News | Rio’s Sabbatical

Rio’s Sabbatical

by | 30th, October 2003

‘POOR, old Rio Ferdinand. The Telegraph says that the Football Association have taken a tough line on the player, charging him with misconduct for missing a drugs test.

‘What’s the Caribbean like at this time of year?’

Or have they? They could have charged him with “wilfully” avoiding the test, a charge that carries a possible punishment of a two-year ban from the game.

As Gordon Taylor, the players’ union chief executive, puts it: “From Rio’s point of view, the charges are good news. It’s certainly a lesser charge and a lesser charge should carry a lesser punishment.”

There are no guarantees. However, as is the way with these things, the player will maintain his innocence whatever, his club will vow to fight his corner and football will beat its chest and say how it’s time to clamp down on drugs cheats.

It’s all just so pathetic, made even more so when you realise that, if Ferdinand does get a three-month ban (as many see likely), he will be paid a weekly fortune to do pretty much nothing but keep fit. As we say, poor Rio.

We would like to report that football is bigger than one player’s indiscretion.

But it’s hard to find support for that argument on a day when the papers relegate the draw for the fourth round of the Carling Cup to an afterthought.

But when you realise that the pick of the round, as revealed in the Independent, is Tottenham Hotspur versus Manchester City, you have to acknowledge that the League Cup is a minor issue.

The big issue, particularly if you are an Australian, is how to deal with the England rugby union team.

It’s clear to any Australian that what the Times calls “Lugergate” (Dan Luger briefly appeared as England’s 16th man on the field of play against Samoa) should result in England’s dismissal from the tournament.

A more sensible approach is found in the Times, where England face the more likely outcome of a financial punishment.

But since this incident is without precedent, they could get the wish of many South Africans and have points deducted.

Or be shot.’

Posted: 30th, October 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink