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Ferdinand banned for eight months
December 20, 2003 02:53 IST
An independent disciplinary commission on Friday banned Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for eight months for missing a drugs test.
The Football Association had charged the 25-year-old England international with "failure or refusal" to take the test at United's training ground at Carrington on September 23.
Following a two-day hearing, a commission spokesperson read out a statement saying: "The disciplinary commission unanimously found that the charge was proved against Rio Ferdinand.
"It was further decided he would be suspended for a period of eight months with effect from Monday 12th January 2004 and be fined the sum of £50,000 ($88,310).
"Having requested a personal hearing, he was ordered to pay the full cost of the hearing. Such decisions are subject to the rights of appeal."
The ban means Ferdinand will miss next year's European Championship in Portugal, and the last four months of the premier league season and United's Champions League campaign.
Ferdinand, who has 14 days to appeal, has denied using drugs and passed a dope test 36 hours after he should have taken the original one.
The FA ruled him out of England's final Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey on October 11, sparking a furious protest by his international team mates, but allowed him to keep playing for United, a decision criticised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.