• International football

PL chief criticises Ferdinand decision

ESPN staff
March 20, 2013
It is still unknown whether Rio Ferdinand still has an international career with England © PA Photos

Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards claims the latest development in the Rio Ferdinand saga embroiling England's preparation for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro has brought "the game into a little bit of disrepute".

Ferdinand once again found himself at the centre of attention during an international break after pulling out of Roy Hodgson's squad due to the demands of a "detailed pre-planned training and medical programme".

Ferdinand's decision follows a long time spent in the international wilderness after Hodgson famously overlooked the Manchester United defender for Euro 2012.

But on the back of a solid season for United, Hodgson recalled the 34-year-old, giving hope that Ferdinand's career with the Three Lions still had some life left.

However, with this latest twist in the tale, Ferdinand has drawn the spotlight away from his country as it attempts to qualify for Brazil 2014 and Richards believes more should be done to make sure the game's integrity is kept intact.

"Rio has been a fantastic servant to England and he's been a great person for the game, and to one day say he's going to play and the next day [to say he isn't going to play], I think that does bring the game into a little bit of disrepute, and perhaps we need to learn a lesson and do a bit of checking first within the FA, " Richards said.

"It's not good to the Premier League or to Manchester United or Roy Hodgson for one day Rio to say he's going to play and the next day to say he's not. It's something that's not quite right."

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