Rio Ferdinand was tonight hit with a severe three-match ban and £25,000 fine for his “sket” comment on Twitter, having declined to attend the Football Association hearing this week.
The former England defender did not attend the hearing on the FA’s misconduct charge, issued on 14 October, a move which went down particularly badly with the three-man commission that heard the case. They also took his previous conduct into account, including the “choc ice” episode with Ashley Cole resulting in what was a surprisingly high tariff.
The rule of thumb with the regulatory commissions that handle these cases has ordinarily been that off-the field incidents are punished with off-the-field sanctions – usually a fine. However, Ferdinand has been treated with an unusually punitive measure that means he will miss Queen’s Park Rangers’ games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle. Ferdinand has also been ordered to attend an education programme as part of his punishment within four months. The commission found Ferdinand’s use of the word “sket” was “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper”, with a “reference to gender”. The term “sket” is considered an offensive description of a woman. He has a week to appeal.
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