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Thu Apr 17 00:46:56 SAST 2014

'Appalling' Ferdinand coin attack to be probed

Tom Williams, Sapa-AFP | 10 December, 2012 09:140 Comments
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand (R) is helped from the pitch by teammate Robin van Persie after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during their English Premier League match against Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England December 9, 2012
Image by: Phil Noble / REUTERS

The Football Association have opened an investigation into the incident that saw Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand hit by a coin during his side’s 3-2 win at Manchester City on Sunday.

The English centre-back was left with blood pouring from his face after being hit by the coin apparently thrown from the crowd in the aftermath of Robin van Persie’s injury-time winner for United at the Etihad Stadium.

“It is disappointing that after a great game and advert for the Premier League, that we are discussing this issue,” said an FA spokesman.

“We will work with the clubs and authorities to identify those responsible and support the strongest sanctions available, including life bans.

“We condemn any such acts and it is simply unacceptable that any player is exposed to injury in this way.

“To witness Rio Ferdinand leaving the field with a cut above his eye to receive treatment is appalling.” 

The FA added that they would liaise with Greater Manchester Police and were awaiting reports from the crowd control advisor and match referee Martin Atkinson.

Greater Manchester Police have also opened an investigation into the incident, while City issued an official apology to Ferdinand.

“We apologise to Rio,” said a spokesman from the club.

“We condemn the actions of the individual concerned. We are reviewing the CCTV with the police and our normal security.

“We will support the police with any investigation and hopefully identify the person as soon as possible.” 

Ferdinand himself made light of what had happened, writing on Twitter: “what a result,3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin,what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin!” 

City manager Roberto Mancini claimed not to have witnessed the incident, but he condemned it nonetheless.

“I didn’t see, so I don’t know what happened,” said the Italian.

“We have fantastic support but we can’t do what that person did, because it’s not good.” 

A fan wearing City colours also had to be restrained by home goalkeeper Joe Hart after walking onto the pitch and making his way towards Ferdinand after van Persie’s goal.

Ferdinand later thanked his one-time England colleague.

“Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!!” he wrote on Twitter.

“Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far...calm it!” 

United manager Alex Ferguson said the scenes witnessed in the aftermath of van Persie’s winning goal were regrettable.

“It was disappointing that a supporter ran on the field after Rio had been hit by a coin in the eye,” he told the club’s in-house television station, MUTV.

“It’s a bit disappointing. The game didn’t deserve that.” 

City had not lost a home game in the Premier League for two years and their defeat saw United establish a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

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