Date: 5th February 2010 at 11:59am
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Sir Alex Ferguson is extremely confident that United have valid grounds for appeal in Rio Ferdinand’s case. The defender has been banned for four games after denying a violent conduct charge for taking a swipe at Hull City’s Craig Fagan at Old Trafford.

His initial three-game ban has been extended because the FA considered his appeal ‘frivolous’ but United feel Rio does have a cause for complaint.

‘The concern is the word frivolous,’ Fergie explained.

‘The two most experienced referees in the Premier League are Alan Wiley and Steve Bennett.

‘They are under the same controls and the same directions. One says yes, in the case of Rio, and one says no, in the case of Javier Mascherano against Leeds United when he punched the player in the back of the head.

‘When you see that example, we don’t think our appeal was frivolous.’

Any sensible man would agree that if Mascherano wasn’t banned for his actions then Ferdinand shouldn’t have been charged, either. That is crystal clear but is it worth it, appealing to the FA’s sense of justice? Fergie must know as well as anyone that it does not have one when United are concerned.

They dismissed the testimony of the United staff members on behalf of Patrice Evra in the aftermath of the Stamford Bridge incident despite having no evidence of any wrongdoing by Evra and banned him to four games simply on the word of the Chelsea staff members. Did justice matter back then? No, just like this time, their sole concern was to show that they are big and brave enough to take on United.

That’s why this appeal is foolish. The FA knows it has nothing to lose as the public will certainly applaud them if they screw over United again so I expect they’ll increase Rio’s ban, dismissing the evidence of Mascherano’s offence just as they dismissed the example of Christian Negouai who had got a 2,000 fine for the same offence Rio had been banned eight months for and just as they ignored the examples of Steven Gerrard and Neil Mellor, sent off in the same Amsterdam tournament in which Rooney and Scholes were given red cards but the Liverpool pair got no further punishment while our players, a year later, were banned for three games.

Rio Ferdinand is not the England captain who is allowed to rugby-tackle his opponent in the knowledge that his red card will be overturned. Rio Ferdinand is a Manchester United player and Fergie should bloody well know that in the case of a Manchester United player, justice, precedent and logic are irrelevant to the FA.