Anorak News | Power Struggle

Power Struggle

by | 22nd, December 2003

‘MANCHESTER United scored twice against Spurs yesterday to go top of the Premiership, but it is a defender that gets all the headlines.

Sir Alex almost turned flesh coloured with fury

Rio Ferdinand is said to be thinking of quitting the national team in disgust at the eight-month ban handed down by the FA for missing a drugs test.

And, says the Sun, other England players are said to be furious at the severity of the punishment.

The paper says the captain David Beckham will seek talks with FA boss Mark Palios on the issue, but the FA is already warning that it will sack players who threaten to strike in support of their colleague.

Meanwhile, opinion is divided on whether the ban and £50,000 fine is an appropriate punishment and even on who is ultimately to blame.

Given that the Sun seems to spend most of its time with its head firmly attached to Sir Alex Ferguson’s backside, it is all the more surprising to hear that its columnist, Steven Howard, blames the Old Trafford club.

Indeed, he says that the reason Rio will miss out on Euro 2004 was because he allowed United to talk him into attempting a defence of the indefensible when his own instinct was to take whatever punishment the FA threw at him.

He says the club have used Ferdinand in its “non-stop war of attrition with the FA, a battle far more important to a 100-year-old club than eight months out of a career of a player”.

And they are using him now as they prepare to appeal against the punishment.

The Express agrees and sees the whole case becoming a massive power struggle between the richest club in the world and the game’s governing bodies.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has threatened to throw United out of all football is the club goes ahead with its threat to take the matter through the civil courts.

But – provocatively – a club insider tells the paper: “I don’t think Fifa will have the guts to ban Manchester United.”

How ironic would it be if Ferdinand completes his eight-month ban to find that he cannot play football because his club is banned!’

Posted: 22nd, December 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink