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FA’s Rio Treatment All The More Ridiculous

Rio Ferdinand’s ban for failing to show up for a drugs test has rightly been a frustration to Manchester United fans, given that Manchester City’s Christian Negouai also failed to attend a drugs test in 2003 and received no ban.

Channel 4′s Dispatches has today shown we have even more reasons to feel aggrieved, with 240 drugs tests being abandoned between April 2007 and August 2010 after players failed to attend. More than 20 of these tests occurred at Premier League clubs, including four failed tests at City and Everton, one at Liverpool and five at Fulham.

Not only have the FA not banned these players, they’ve swept it under the carpet. It’s hard to believe they hung Rio out to dry for committing exactly the same offence.

Just last month Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the FA treated us like “shit”. How can anyone disagree with that anymore?

FA target United – Proof
Daniel Taylor on FA’s unfair treatment
How can managers avoid FA charges?
Swear Watch

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. smartalex says:


    I voiced an opinion. You did the sniping. Now you prefer your sarcasm to my ditty.

    You don’t know how to play nicely, and Bob won’t stay unless everyone agrees with him.

    Enjoy the blog, instead of moaning that you are not spoken to instantly.

  2. indiandevil says:

    Benfica v Man United – A look back at three of the most important duels between the two giants of Euroepan football!

  3. classwithabrass says:

    Still wont argue the facts. Amazing. Thats for replying so quick though.

  4. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    No, I did not watch the program (quite obvious since I don’t live in the U.K.), but I have read many extensive articles about it today. The one I linked above is just one of them.

    It demonstrates that countless players have even failed drug test over the many years since Rio was banned for being late to a drug test and then passing it with flying colors. In case, you did not read my original post, I mentioned “missed” within quotes, which means whatever the reason maybe, the drug test did not happen at the stipulated time. I know anyone can provide countless reasons, but a drug test – AFAIK – is just about coming to the location and providing a sample of your blood. It cannot be too hard for a player to do.

    And in many cases the time is specifically chosen when a player is most vulnerable to be caught out. So, if it does not happen, there is a chance that the player can clear later quite easily. You can argue that this was the case with Rio as well, but evidence shows that he was ready to take the test on the same day and came within the time as well, but the “testing party” decided not to dignify him by doing so. This is in stark contrast to re-scheduling which gives player and club enough time to clear him off his drugs.

    Yes, I agree that each has to be taken on a case by case basis. I can be late for a meeting on purpose and provide a lame excuse and escape. That is one thing. But being late for a drug test where your honor is on the line and providing a lame excuse is another thing. Imagine a witness or an accused being late for a court hearing; that would be the obvious comparison to make. Legitimate or not, it is the responsibility of the player and the club he is representing to make sure the test is taken on time.

    Abandoned or otherwise, these tests did not happen when they were supposed to – whether that be due to the player (as in Rio’s case) or the club (as you point out) who are clearly benefactors of the player is irrelevant. If the F.A. were transparent about the whole process, they would’ve taken action either against the player or the club for these cases. If not, at least these cases would’ve been made available to the public along with the times when the tests were re-taken so that we can make our own judgment.

    That it needed investigative journalism to bring this information out into the public is telling. It clearly demonstrates that the F.A., the players whose tests were abandoned and the clubs they represent have something to hide.

  5. wiuru says:

    So lets get this straight Rio misses an announced drug test . He provides what amount to clear samples and recognised as such albeit late . But then gets an 8 monther for missing the original test ! Mean while players testing positive are shielded to assist them to rehabilitate . Without this Dispatches disclosure non of us would be aware there is a drug problem on the scale it appears to be .Either in testing proceedure or the way the FA chooses to deal with the guilty.
    I dont know about you but i think Rio thick as he was , still got the thin end of the wedge (shafted )

  6. smartalex says:


    It is you that posts without facts.

    Also, you want an argument, not me. I have replaced my vehicle gate motor, and submitted several invoices for QS work done, as well as fed my dogs in the last 3 hours. I do not live in anticipation of your expectations.

    You are a just a fool looking for trouble.

  7. Bob Da Builder says:

    @ smartalex

    Bob De Builder really didn’t want to reply…..

    your comment
    “”Bob won’t stay unless everyone agrees with him”"

    Are that fucking deluded? seriously your a idiot, have a close look at the 3 posts below, I’m constantly repeating myself with the same FACTS, yet you are that totally lost in own fancy world you flying around cookoos.

    post one
    “Some are over reacting some what…… Some obviously watch didn’t but just comment.

    The ‘abandoned’ tests aren’t the same as Rio’s offence. Rio’s offence was the player himself missing the drugs test when the testers were there. “Abandoned” tests were ones that were abandoned because of the club, as it said in the report, moving training sessions from regular times so the testing couldn’t take place.”

    post two
    @ Balaji

    Did you watch the program?

    The missed 100′s of tests are the “Abandoned” tests by the FA. as it said in the report, moving training sessions from regular times so the testing couldn’t take place.

    Rio’s was self inflicted, the thick prick had a specific TIME, DATE & PLACE with the FA test board…. he forgot.

    post three

    Firstly it wasn’t a couple of minute…. it HOURS.

    Hundreds of players who were deliberately prevented from undergoing testing were not even reported to the public, because the FA abandoned the tests because training sessions was moving from regular times so the testing couldn’t take place.

    Seriously… i didn’t come here for an argument, but I’m soon realising some fans for truly fucking deluded.

    out of here…..

    You really are deluded…. take a reality check & come out of cookoo land.

  8. MyCowIsTheBest says:

    There was an article in Soccernet that particularly said Rio’s case was a different one because he failed to show up even though he was informed of the time and place in advance, while the others were not informed..

  9. smartalex says:

    Bob Da Builder shouldn’t build his foundations in a quagmire of frustration.

    Having a bad day, Bob?

  10. Bob Da Builder says:

    hahahahaha sorry mate…… I’ve had nicer days. Please forgive my harshness.

  11. smartalex says:

    Nice one Bob!

    It’s all good! No resentment required or desired. I am interested in your views on Balaji’s considered response at 14:11.

  12. Bob Da Builder says:


    I did miss balaji post, although i feel hes answered most of his own questions; in reality the club can change its training schedule to suit the club not the FA its not as if they don’t change game days or teams get caught in volcanic ash clouds….. if the FA want to test the whole team then they need agree a time, date & place.. (Has with Rio). in most cases i see the FA would just turn pu at the club.(not fact)

  13. smartalex says:

    Bob Da Builder

    If I may offer an admittedly over-simplified view?

    - Several thousand tests were scheduled.
    - Several hundred tests were not completed.
    - One footballer was punished.

    The footballer that was punished was not guilty of the crime that the test exists to prevent.
    His punishment for tardiness was an 8 month ban from earning his daily bread.

    Where I live, you get a suspended sentence if the policeman that you kill is out of uniform.
    I think Rio was unfairly treated.

  14. José McG says:

    @ Bob the builder and classwithabrass
    One more “FACT” Toure got 6 months for testing positive for a banned substance, 3 of which are off season, does this not seem unfair when Rio never even tested positively yet got 8?? and as said, Rio called to say he could be back to take the test, but the testers being so busy with collecting footballers piss couldn’t wait.

    As for the Rooney swearing, he actually swore to the sound man and not down the camera the camera may have been close but the camera was also close to Kenny Dalglish when he told Wenger to F@&K off, yet no touchline ban there nor was it even acknowledged by the FA.

    FIFA, UEFA, and the FA they all have something in common,

  15. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Rio was guilty of missing the initial test. He showed up late but the testers had left or packed up or whaterver. So Rio was charged with that offense. It is pretty simple. I would have no problem with the charge and punishment, IF that charge and punishment was the standard. The amazing thing about the Dispaches program is that it shows otherwise. It shows that RIO WAS THE ONLY ONE TO BE SIMILARLY TREATED in the face of many more egregious offenses.

    You might take issue with my comment that Rio was guilty. But the simple facts in the drugs enforcement law is that a “missed drugs test” is an offense. Balij and several others seem to get this point. You can argue about other mitigating circumstances, but it was and offense. Ok, lets move on. Rio and the club have. I have moved on. Rio got screwed, but it provided WADA and FA an opportunity to change the culture. The FA have clearly NOT followed up and have clearly failed to clean up the sport.

    As I said yesterday evening 21:23 the issue that needs focus is getting drugs out of sport because it is killing and screwing up kids. If kids see less talented kids doping and succeeding in schools sport, what does that tell you. It took years to get blood doping out of cycling. Now, we don’t have athletes dropping dead in the Tour de France because they were on uppers. It is a long road, but a worthy one to get drugs out of sport. If you ask me, Rio appears to be an opportunity all but wasted.

  16. King Eric says:

    The testers wouldnt hang around a few minutes for Rio to get to Carrington. Once again United were shafted.

  17. Tom says:

    Makes you wonder what else gets covered under the carpet? I’ve heard of clubs dealing with players internally without informing the FA and just telling the press they are injured!

  18. lununcle says:

    why bring this up all of a sudden? an incidence occurred 8 years ago….

  19. smartalex says:


    Did you read Scott the Red’s article at the top of this page?

  20. Bob De Builder says:

    @José McG
    Can you please pass BOTH of the case notes for Toure & Rio so can give a fair & u bias view unlike yourself…. .

    do you have problem staying on topic? what the fuck as Rooney swearing or any other got to with this topic? but to answer point dickhead, both managers WASN@T TALKING DIRECTLY IN TO THE CAMERA

    I wish some would really think about this FA conspiracy theory – thingy!, SAF was the one who when to war with the FA, calling after most refs….. now its not as if theses Refs cover any other games now is it – its not as if any other team in the whole of england as bad decisions going against now is it?
    When a mangers go out to of their way to insult a Ref, in most cases its to cover their players mistakes or divert attention in the press – too take the heat away. SAF is a master of this tactic. The FA are right to punish managers whether it be Wenger or SAF or who ever try this….

  21. wiuru says:

    @bob da builder

    I agree with the fact that we are not the only club on the end of bad decisions ! However i have seen consistantly over the years United used by the FA to set an example

    Gary Neville kisses the badge in front of away supporters £5000 fine . Same season Joey Barton for Citeh shows his a**e to the away support £2000 fine. Its a small but relevant example .

    The vast majority of fans while not out and out cynics about the FA harbour deep mistrust of any decision they make . simply because they are so out of touch with the terraces and the feelings of supporters. The major issue for me at the moment is FIFA and Blatter where are our FA ? they abstain from one vote ! Our press and MP’s are left to crusade against the obvious corruption in FIFA.

    While this thread is aimed at the drug testing policy which we all support in any sport . It does open up the deepening mistrust of the FA and its unspoken agenda .

    Rio was a cock for missing the test ,im sure he knows it to . It cost us dearly that season but 8 months ? where is the consistancy ? If it was meant as a tough example . Then as some one has already pointed out they have completely missed it through inconsistancy.

  22. José McG says:

    @Bobthebuilder (Who’s the nob-head off topic now, ie: topic of FA using different levels of punishment depending on the club the player is from and not the Crime committed!!!)
    as stated in the first line of my comment I was replying to “Classwithabrass” also

    “classwithabrass says:
    Finally i get some attention!!
    @José McG…………
    Another example- people on here compared Rooney being banned for swearing directly down a camera with people being filmed on the pitch whilst swearing. The two cannot be compared and yet we got ‘swear watch’.”

    Forgive me for not giving you my undivided attention, Prick.

    Sorry but i’m not privy to case notes on either case just whats in the public domain as i’m sure is the case with you. But It is widely reported that Kolo Toure tested positive for a banned substance which he claimed came from a slimming tablet he had borrowed from his wife. As said before he got 6 months, Will try and get more in-depth details for you tho.

  23. José McG says:

    @wiuru, I appreciate your level and balanced comment, your words have had a calming effect on my input.

  24. wiuru says:

    @ Jose McG

    Np we are all trying to adress a difficult issue .

  25. Bob Da Builder says:

    @King Eric
    “The testers wouldnt hang around a few minutes for Rio to get to Carrington. Once again United were shafted.”

    Rio had left Carrington park, what the fuck are on about? some really do have their head up there arse…..

  26. The Cantonas says:

    Bob Da Builder = classwithabrass ??
    I’d thought u’re the same person. no?

  27. José McG says:

    @Bob Da Builder
    Yes the testers did refuse to wait. Rio left the ground in a hurry, something to do with moving house at the time, phone contact could not be made for over an hour, and when contact was made and Rio returned to Carrington the testers had left and refused to return. It may have been more than a few minutes, Granted…

  28. classwithabrass says:

    still mixing up the facts that missing a drugs test when you knew about it and missing one where testers turn up at a predetermined location unannounced but the player is not there due to their club changing their schedule i.e out of a players control are two different things and therefore punishments cannot be compared.

  29. NorwegianRed says:

    Even though I do feel unjust here, I have to say this;
    Missing a drug test should be, and often is, treated as a failed drug test. Granted, Rio came back, and produced a clean test two days later. But still, who knows what you can get out of your system in two days? Im not conspiring here, try to see my point.

    BUT: The real unjust, is the fact that Toure got LESS punishment when he got caught. If you get caught red handed in the Olympics, you get two years, dont you?

  30. classwithabrass says:


    I suppose if the FA believed Toure was taking slimming pills and not using this as an excuse/way to cover using performance enhancing other drugs, and after their investigations they had evidence to support this then it comes back to what you said about the ‘chance’ Rio could have been up to something and the FA not being able to investigate.


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