Defender Rio Ferdinand has been left out of the 23-man England squad for the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul on Saturday.
The English Football Association confirmed the Manchester United FC defender had been dropped pending an investigation into his failure to attend a routine drugs test. The 24-year-old, who has been capped 33 times, reportedly forgot to attend a pre-arranged test at the club's Carrington training ground on 23 September because he was moving house the same day.
"The FA has today confirmed to England head coach, Sven-Göran Eriksson, that Rio Ferdinand will not be available for selection in England's squad to face Turkey," read a statement released by the FA.
'Inappropriate' to select Ferdinand
"Given the seriousness with which The FA views breaches of its Doping Control Regulations, the imminent England squad announcement and the importance of Saturday's match, The FA has concluded that it is inappropriate for Rio Ferdinand to be available for selection for England," the statement went on to say.
"The disciplinary process will now run its course. In making the policy decision not to consider Rio Ferdinand for selection for the England squad to face Turkey, The FA is not making any judgement whatsoever regarding the player's future England career. Just as importantly, The FA is not pre-judging the outcome of any possible future disciplinary hearing," the statement concluded.
Liverpool FC forward Michael Owen is in coach Sven-Göran Eriksson's squad but his chances of playing are rated at only 50 per cent after he picked up a shin injury playing against Arsenal FC last Saturday. England are currently a point clear of Turkey at the top of Group 7 and need a draw to ensure a place at next summer's finals in Portugal.
James, Robinson, Walker, G Neville, P Neville, Upson, Campbell, Terry, A Cole, Bridge, Mills, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, Gerrard, Hargreaves, Lampard, Dyer, J Cole, Heskey, Owen, Rooney, Beattie, Vassell.
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