Ferguson free to play

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The Independent Online
The Everton striker Duncan Ferguson was yesterday cleared to play in today's Premiership match at Arsenal after a ruling was deferred on his challenge to a 12-match Scottish Football Association suspension.

The Judge, Lord Macfadyen, said he was reserving judgement after hearing four hours of legal argument from both sides. The Scottish international can continue to play while the decision is being reached.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has been considering a judicial review by the player to lift the suspension, imposed in April 1994 for head-butting John McStay of Raith while Ferguson was playing for Rangers. He has served half of a three-month jail sentence for the assault.

His appeal was turned down by the SFA last November. He still has seven matches of the ban to serve, but has played since December after being granted leave for a judicial review.

Everton's manager, Joe Royle, said: "We anticipated this. It is no great surprise in view of the high-profile nature of the case. I am pleased Duncan is available for the Arsenal game. All we can do now is wait and see what happens."