Ferdinand handed four match ban

Rio Ferdinand has received a four-match suspension after losing his appeal against an FA violent conduct charge.

The chances of the Manchester United man getting off with the charge were always slim given the clear nature of his attack on Craig Fagan during Saturday's 4-0 win over Hull.

And the FA also took a dim view of Ferdinand appealing and added another game to the automatic three-match ban.

It means Ferdinand will miss Sunday's Premier League title showdown with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

In addition the 31-year-old will also sit out matches against Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Everton next month, although he will be available for the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley on February 28.

"The Independent Commission felt that the player's claim against the charge was frivolous and on that basis have awarded an additional one match ban upon the statutory three match ban awarded for violent conduct," said an FA statement.

It did appear United were taking a calculated risk when it was confirmed yesterday that Ferdinand would be appealing against the charge.

That move allowed the England star to feature in last night's Carling Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City.

In his programme notes, Ferguson claimed it would be unfair to ask Ferdinand to play three games in one week so soon after his recovery from a long-standing back problem, so he would not have been considered on Sunday anyway.

And Nemanja Vidic's presence on the bench last night, in addition to the current fitness of Wes Brown and Jonny Evans meant that United do have cover for Ferdinand, who can also play in the first leg of the Champions League knock-out round clash with David Beckham's AC Milan in the San Siro on February 16.

Nevertheless, Ferguson did feel Ferdinand had a good case given what was going on before he swung an arm into Fagan's face.

"If he gets a fair hearing Rio has a good chance," said Ferguson.

"He was getting wrestled and punched. There were all sorts of things happening.

"He was just trying to get himself free of it and unfortunately caught the lad on the back of the neck."

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