Ferdinand faces ban for missing drug test

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The Independent Football

Rio Ferdinand's future in international football was under review last night after it emerged that he had failed to take a drug test.

Ferdinand, 24, later took the test and passed, but as Football Association laws regard a refusal to be tested as equivalent to testing positive he has been asked to explain himself. Ferdinand's defence is expected to be that he "forgot" because he was moving house. He faces a possible two-year ban, the same as for a positive test.

England play a decisive European Championship qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul on Saturday. Had Ferdinand tested positive at that match ­ two players from each side are routinely tested ­ England could have been expelled from the competition.

So sensitive is the issue that Sven Goran Eriksson, the England manager, was forced to delay naming his squad yesterday. It will now be announced at 1pm today.

Ferdinand's hearing is planned for Monday but in an effort to settle the affair before Saturday's match the Football Association might bring the hearing forward. The squad leave for Turkey on Thursday.

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