Ferdinand risks four-game ban by appealing FA's charge of violent conduct
RIO FERDINAND took a bold gamble yesterday and risked a four-match ban by appealing an English FA charge of violent conduct so that he could play in the second leg of last night's Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City.
The United defender ignored the advice of Graham Bean, the English FA's former compliance officer who counsels the club on disciplinary matters, by pleading not guilty to the charge of deliberately striking Hull's Craig Fagan during the 4-0 Premier League win at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Bean held talks with Ferdinand and Alex Ferguson at the Carrington training ground yesterday morning and recommended that United accept the charge because the governing body might consider the appeal "frivolous" and punish the player with an extra one-game ban on top of the mandatory three-match suspension.
The case, with Ferdinand expected to argue that he caught Fagan accidentally, will be heard by a regulatory commission today.
If Ferdinand's defence is unsuccessful, he will be banned from United's league match away to Arsenal on Sunday, the match at home to Portsmouth six days later, the trip to Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa on February 10 and possibly another away game against Everton on February 20.
Ferguson said yesterday that he expects to have Nemanja Vidic back from injury in a week, which will be critical with Ferdinand facing as long as a month out of action.
Zoran Tosic, the Serbia winger who has been reduced to the fringes at United since joining from Partizan Belgrade 12 months ago, has joined Cologne on a six-month loan. "I believe that my performances with Cologne will be my ticket back to Old Trafford," said Tosic, who has yet to make a Premier League start for United. (© The Times, London)