Rio Set For Return

Last updated : 15 October 2003 By Kevin Markey

His appearance had been in doubt after he was informally questioned by the FA for missing a random drugs test.

United chief executive David Gill says Ferdinand will be in the squad for Elland Road despite being under investigation.

"Rio will continue to be selected until such time as whatever punishment is decided upon is meted out and begins," said Gill.

"The manager and his United team-mates would want him to be selected I am sure. As a club we'd be comfortable with him being chosen. We clearly know the facts behind the case and there is no moral dilemma.

"The club has reacted in the past when it felt it was necessary to do so."

FA chief executive Mark Palios has defended their actions regarding Ferdinand.

Palios said in a letter to FA staff: "Some people have questioned whether we have at any point stepped outside our due process for disciplinary decisions. I can confirm that we have not. Our decision to exclude Rio was a policy decision in our role representing 'England team' affairs and was not part of the formal disciplinary process.

"It's also very important to note that at no time did we breach confidentiality.

"The FA's statement on the matter came many hours after Rio Ferdinand was named in public comments from both Manchester United, the PFA and, it would appear, from numerous other sources.

"To the best of my knowledge this organisation did not leak any confidential information."

FIFA have said the FA must make an example of Ferdinand for the 'offence' and they have threatened to act severely if they don't.