Ferdinand and the FA: the unanswered questions

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At what time on 23 September did Manchester United or the drug-testers speak to Ferdinand to tell him he had failed to keep his appointment for the drugs test?

The testers were waiting for Ferdinand to finish showering and changing for about an hour, unaware he had already left. When it became apparent he had already gone, United staff tried to contact him by mobile phone and text message. He was making arrangements to move house, including shopping at Harvey Nichols for household goods, and did not pick up the messages until mid-afternoon. When he did, he immediately called United but the testers had already left. UK Sport, in arrangement with Manchester United, then fixed 25 September as the next available date.

When did the FA first learn that Ferdinand had failed to take a drugs test?

UK Sport informed the FA in writing on Friday 26 September.

When did the FA first make contact with Manchester United about Ferdinand's missed test?

The FA telephoned United's club doctor on Friday 3 October. Official written notification from the FA to Ferdinand was sent on the same day. That had arrived at United by Monday this week. The FA also talked to United on Saturday and Sunday.

So why did it take the FA seven days to inform United?

The FA needed time to consider its own position, take legal advice and discuss the matter with the England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, who still wanted to select Ferdinand in his squad for Turkey.

Has any FA official spoken to Ferdinand about the case?

David Davies, the FA's executive director, talked to Ferdinand in Manchester on Sunday to make him aware of the gravity of the situation. It was not a formal interview or hearing.

Ferdinand failed to take his test on 23 September, 16 days ago. Why has the FA's compliance unit still not actually met him?

Due process states that a player must be informed in writing of an offence (ie, failing to take a test), then be given time to consider his case before an interview, which precedes any charge and subsequent hearing. Ferdinand only got written notification on Monday.

The FA sent officials to Manchester on Monday in an attempt to give Ferdinand his personal hearing. Why did it not take place?

Because Ferdinand had been given no time, since being officially notified, to prepare his case. His advisers and Manchester United wanted time to prepare his case and refused to take part in a fast-track hearing.

Was the FA trying to rush through a hearing so it could then charge Ferdinand with a drugs offence, thereby "legitimising" his omission from the squad?


How did Ferdinand's name become public?

United's statement on their website on Monday night was the first official confirmation but they made that statement after being told Ferdinand's name was already in the public domain and would appear in Tuesday's newspapers. Many people - including United players, staff, Ferdinand's friends, advisers, lawyers, the testers and various administrators at United, the FA and UK Sport - would have known about the missed test. The FA denies leaking Ferdinand's name.

Was the FA within its rights to omit Ferdinand from the England squad given that he has not been charged with any offence, let alone found guilty?

Yes and no. Yes because the FA is entitled to select whoever it wants to play for England. Ferdinand has no legal right to be selected. But no (it could be argued by United) because, by dropping him, the FA knew his confidentiality would be blown. As the FA's own procedures state, confidentiality is paramount throughout and Ferdinand's case is ongoing. The FA, by dropping Ferdinand, exposed him, thereby breaking its own rules. It used a "policy decision" excuse - of setting an example - to justify this.

Would Ferdinand's case have remained private ­ in the same way that the case this summer of Manchester City's Christian Negouai had not been publicised - if the FA had not decided to exclude him from the England squad?

Theoretically, yes. In practice, there were already rumours last weekend that something was amiss and his name would probably have come out. However, if there had been no suggestion of his being dropped, and no frantic FA activity over the weekend, the rumour mill might not have been working overtime.

Would Uefa have punished England if they had played Ferdinand against Turkey, knowing that he had failed to give a drugs test?

No. Although Ferdinand has undoubtedly committed an offence (missing a drugs test) the case has not been concluded. There is no sanction hanging over him yet. He would have been eligible to play.