Last updated : 07 January 2004 By Editor
The Times report:

‘Manchester United will continue to pay Rio Ferdinand his
full £70,000-a-week salary throughout his impending eight-
month suspension, even after receiving a damning 35-page
report from the FA that has cast grave doubts about his
testimony in his recent disciplinary hearing.

‘Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed yesterday that United are
prepared to invest nearly £2.5 million in Ferdinand over the
course of his ban for missing a drugs test and that no
internal action would be taken against the player.

‘Ferguson admitted for the first time on December 22, three
days after Ferdinand was found guilty of misconduct, that
the 25-year-old had been “wrong” to miss the random test in
September, a lapse that he and the player tried to ascribe
to his forgetful nature.

‘But the FA’s report into the hearing, which arrived at Old
Trafford on Monday, offered a less sympathetic view,
expressing concern at contradictions in Ferdinand’s defence
and at the fact that his first telephone call, after he left
United’s training ground on that fateful day, was to his