Manchester United FC defender Rio Ferdinand has been banned for eight months by an independent disciplinary commission for missing a drugs test three months ago, ruling him out of UEFA EURO 2004™.
'Failure or refusal'
The 25-year-old English international, who risked a ban of
up to two years, had been charged by the Football Association (FA) with a "failure or refusal" to take the test at United's training ground at Carrington on 23 September.
Denied using drugs
Ferdinand, who has 14 days to appeal, has denied using drugs and passed a dope test 36 hours after he should have taken the original one. The FA ruled him out of England's final EURO 2004™ qualifier in Turkey on 11 October, sparking a protest by his international team-mates, but allowed him to keep playing for United.
Ferdinand was selected to take the test on 23 September by representatives of UK Sport. However, he left United's training ground without taking the test, but later attempted to return, only to be told it was too late. He did take a test the following day, which he passed.
Ferdinand began his career with West Ham United FC before joining Leeds United AFC for €25.7m in November 2000. After an impressive FIFA World Cup in 2002, he moved to Manchester United for a British record fee of €46.9m, and won his first major honour earlier this year as he helped his new club overhaul Arsenal FC at the top of the Premiership.
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