Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will face a Football Association hearing on Thursday in the knowledge that he will serve at least a three match ban. The player, who has appeared just once for United since 25 October, risks an extended suspension if the FA disciplinary committee decides his appeal his ‘frivolous’.
Ferdinand’s decision, made with manager Sir Alex Ferguson, means that the England international is free to play against Manchester City tonight, before starting his suspension ahead of the Arsenal game on Sunday, with Portsmouth and Aston Villa to come. The FA, which will dismiss any appeal, can add an up to a further two games to the suspension. In that case Ferdinand would miss the Carling Cup final.
Video evidence, which shows Ferdinand striking Hull City’s Craig Fagan with an arm, means that the former-West Ham United player must plead either precedent or accident at the hearing. Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano faced no sanction after clearly striking a Leeds United player in the Carling Cup earlier this season.
Rio Ferdinand versus Hull City
Javier Mascherano versus Leeds United (47 seconds)