Ferdinand tells of tears over 'harsh' ban by FA

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The Independent Online

Rio Ferdinand yesterday revealed that he will not launch a second appeal against his eight-month ban for missing a drugs test - and told how he was reduced to tears by the Football Association's disciplinary action.

Rio Ferdinand yesterday revealed that he will not launch a second appeal against his eight-month ban for missing a drugs test - and told how he was reduced to tears by the Football Association's disciplinary action.

The Manchester United defender claims the saga could have been avoided, but a key member of the FA was away on holiday when he tried to arrange to meet the drug-testers again.

In an interview on The Real Story on BBC1 last night, he said: "I love playing for England, I love playing for my club. My club means so much to me, I go out there and play for the fans and for my family and for myself and to have that taken away from me in such a way was disheartening and something that really did shock me. I'm man enough to admit that I did cry."

Ferdinand also admits he was told twice he had to take a drugs tests but maintains he forgot and that as soon as United told him he had missed the test, he contacted the FA to ask the testers to go straight back to the Carrington training ground.

He added: "I made a conscious decision to phone the FA which I did after that phone call and they said the person who you need to speak to was on holiday, so I'd done my utmost to try and rectify the position that I was in at the time and to rectify the mistake I'd made - but there was no safety net there for me to go back and do the test. A person that is trying to get away from doing a test for some reason doesn't make attempts to phone back the club doctors and the FA to rectify his position."

Ferdinand also said that he will not take a second appeal to the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. "I still think the ban was harsh and that I have been made an example of. But I've decided it is time this case came to an end," he said. "When my appeal was rejected last Thursday my first reaction was to keep going. But I've had a chance to think about it and don't feel it would serve any purpose by dragging it out.

"The point has been made that I'm not a drug-taker. Everyone accepts that, which was very important to me. I feel I've cleared my name in that regard."

Ferdinand also offered an explanation behind a phone call made to a consultant urologist shortly after he failed to take the test. "I'd just come back from injury, that doctor had been consulting me on issues to do with that injury. After every training session I was speaking to him just letting him know how I got on and if I was feeling OK. My phone bill record showed I was phoning them at a consistent time over those weeks after training, so that was no different from any other day."

James Lawton, page 46

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