Anorak News | A Poor Excuse

A Poor Excuse

by | 19th, December 2003

‘THE Sun forfeited any pretence at objectivity when it comes to Manchester United years ago and is now little more than the Old Trafford in-house rag.

Too rich to be guilty

So it’s no surprise that it has already acquitted Rio Ferdinand of any wrongdoing with regard to his missed drugs test.

It’s just a question of how much compensation and how big an apology the FA owes the United centre-half for interrupting his shopping trip two months ago.

“£3m Drugs Bunglers” is the paper’s considered opinion of the men and women whose job it is to ensure that our national game remains free of cheats.

It is, in the eyes of the Sun (and Ferdinand’s lawyer), the testers’ fault that Ferdinand was allowed to drive away from training that day in September without giving a sample.

Other blunders include the testers not directly contacting Ferdinand, Ferdinand being told it was too late to return to take his test and – extraordinarily – the fact that the testers were part-time and being paid just £120.

We all know about rich man’s justice, but things have really reached a nadir when Ferdinand’s defence is that he gets paid more than his accusers.

The fact remains that it is Ferdinand and Manchester United who are to blame, not the drugs testers. And no amount of fancy lawyers or special pleading by the Sun can change that.

Such is their attitude that those of us who were prepared to believe that missing the test was an honest mistake on Ferdinand’s part now want the FA to throw the proverbial book at him.

Away from the nauseating sight of footballing justice in action and we turn our attention to rugby – a game untainted by such base considerations as money.

Er, well, not exactly. Leicester coach Dean Richards makes the back page of the Mail this morning accusing fellow Premiership clubs of “selling their soul” by agreeing to release players for tomorrow’s match against the New Zealand Barbarians.

The clubs are being paid £120,000 in compensation each for providing up to three players for the money-spinning match at Twickenham.

But Richards says: “This is something we could have done without.

“We were delighted to have everyone back but, no sooner are they back, than they go away again.”

The Mirror reckons it’s a game that both sides could do without, suggesting that England players are finding ever more imaginative excuses to get out of playing, while the New Zealand Barbarians have struggled to put together a side at all.

Oh well, it’s as good an excuse as any to separate rugby fans from their money.’

Posted: 19th, December 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink