FIFA president Sepp Blatter gave both barrels to the FA and Manchester United over the Rio Ferdinand saga and confirmed that the outcome of the controversy will be closely studied by the world governing body's anti-doping chiefs.
He also criticised the FA for the delay in dealing with both the Ferdinand case and that of Chelsea's Joe Cole, who received a two-match ban on Wednesday seven months after committing the offence. [+]
Your Verdict:The main problem with the FA at the moment is trying to keep up to date. Now, who is it with the drug test? Oh, and what about the guy charged with rape, and er..who threw that bottle....and, um..who were those hooligans who set about poor Van Nistelrooy.
For goodness sake, the problem belongs to the clubs, if they cant keep their players in order then the FA should deduct points...and forget about trying to figure out who should play when. A few solid points deductions will soon get the clubs to keep their brainless wonders in order.
The FA is tying itself in knots, and as usual makes a complete ass of itself...oddly enough the clubs sit back and are unbearably smug about the whole thing.
If you can get into the UEFA Cup on the basis of Fair Play Award, whatever that is, then why not exclude clubs for the reverse, and include points for the number of arrests, dope failures, even lousy haircuts (Real Madrid would never make the Champions League then!) as well as red and yellow cards.
It all makes sense you know.
Innocent until proven guilty isn't that one of the fundamentals of our society?
As for Mr Blatter ranting on about not being aware of Rio's continuing selection - well he is the president of FIFA, isn't he? If he wants FIFA's involvement then shouldn't he as president, be aware of the situation?
And finally, he then brought up, how this must be affecting the 'image' of the game. Well I seem to remember some allegations and a resignation when certain candidates were seeking votes for the FIFA presidency - sort your own stall out first Mr Blatter.
James Migue, Brighton
At the outset it is my view that sportsmen should be subject to the same rules as anyone else. Hence, assuming there is no specific rule requiring suspension pending inquiry, Rio should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
However, my main point is that the English FA has not handled this issue adequately. Firstly, they have taken far too long to make the formal charge and convene a hearing into the charge thereby giving rise to the statements made by Sepp Blatter.
Secondly, notwithstanding my initial statement above, the FA has already chosen the path it wishes to travel over this issue, ie: that Rio be suspended from playing for England until the matter is resolved.
In this sense the FA's inaction over his continued appearance for Manchester United is clearly contradictory to their initial stance on the matter. In my view it is this which has prompted the outburst from Sepp Blatter.
The FA's action smacks of partiality to unarguably the biggest club in England. If the FA and indeed English football as a whole is to retain any credibility then the charge must be heard and decided without delay and without fear of the threatened legal action by Manchester United.
Blatter has put in words what most of us have been wondering: how can you skip a drugs test and be allowed to keep on playing. England did the right thing leaving him out of the national team.
It's a pity Manchester United didn't show the same fortitude. OK, Ferdinand may not have been taking drugs but now nobody will ever know the answer because he missed the test.
There will always be a suspicion, no matter what the outcome of the FA hearing, that he skipped the drugs test for a reason.
Geoffrey Vine, New Zealand
One way or another it seems, Rio Ferdinand is going to be crucified. The FA already look like a bunch of buffoons as it is. Witness the Alan Smith debacle, now after all that has happened with that, they are bound and determined to save face and so have now charged him, after the police realised that there was no case.
Certainly they will be doing everything in their power to make Ferdinand pay for their own shortcomings.
Sepp Blatter now, for the first time since all of this blew up has decided that Rio should not be playing. A straw that the FA will undoubtedly grasp at should they feel it would help divert questions and attention from their own ineptitude.
The FA has never at anytime said that Rio Ferdinand should not be playing for his club team in any matches whatsoever. Nor until now has FIFA made any mention of it.
So to now suggest that the eight or nine games he has played in could possibly be null and void, would be ludicrous and should the FA concur with FIFA, then the premier league may as well fold and Mark Palios step down to let Sepp Blatter assume the mantle of resident idiot!
I totally agree with Mr. Blatter that Rio should not be playing until the case is settled.
In my opinion, the English FA is sending the message that :
1. It is ok to ignore the drug test and to take it at another time.
2. We are a weak instituition and we are very afraid of the big clubs like Man Utd.
3. We are inefficient, so what?
My other question. Man Utd and their players asked the FA to be fair to Rio. By applying the delay tactic and playing Rio in all their games, is Man Utd being fair to the FA and the other clubs? Gary Neville talked about principles, where are the principles in this case? All I can see from Man Utd's action is self interest.
Paul Tan, Singapore
Blatter's comments on Rio Ferdinand are a total denial of justice. Surely the principle of the law is that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Blatter's comments if anything merely prejudice the case because he is virtually saying that the FA Must ban Ferdinand.
When Ferguson makes an observation about the treatment of Arsenal's players, he is dragged before the FA - but when Blatter speaks, no one is doing the same to him. If he wishes to make comments, he should make them in private to the FA and not compromise a case.
Roger Birch, Canberra, Australia
Hang on, Rio is guilty of missing a drugs test. There is no doubt or presumption of innocence here. He either took the test, or he didn't. Simple. The only question remaining is the penalty. He should have been stood down immediately, and his penalty, whatever it is, backdated to the time he was suspended.
Spare me the "Oh, I forgot" excuse, if Rio lived in the world I live in, drugs in sport is the single biggest issue facing sport today, surely he or his management team could have "remembered". If I was on his salary, I would not be as careless.
Bill Frendo, Sydney
I have always wondered why this guy Sepp Blatter has personally taken a direct interest in this issue. To make matters worse he has already pre-judged Fedinand by calling for a stiff penalty. And he doesn't give a damn that there are procedures laid down by the FA which must be followed.
It is the bungling English FA who have created this mess from which they cannot entangle themselves. Rio was wrong to miss the drug case, but any punishment must be meted out after a thorough investigation.
Freddie Nyirenda, Harare, Zimbabwe
The hypocrisy of Sepp Blatter questioning the validity of Manchester United's results and pontificating about the credibility of FIFA if Ferdinand plays while under investigation.
Sepp has a short memory. It is not that long ago that he was under investigation at FIFA. Did he step down while the investigation went on? Did he hell. He continued to parade himself as president of FIFA declaring his innocence until proven guilty.
What's good enough for the goose.... Sepp?
Rio Ferdinand has yet to be found guilty of anything. He may well be in the end. But until then I thought we lived in a democratic world where people were punished after being found guilty.
Marc Weatherhead, Sydney
Am I the only one to believe in innocence until proven guilt? If it's taken Blatter this long to learn that Rio is still playing, what else has he failed to observe during the matter?
Perhaps he is unaware that Rio submitted to and passed a drugs test only 30 hours later. Uneducated comments from an uneducated man it would seem.
If Rio is found to be guilty, then by all means ban him if that is the punishment, otherwise keep to wrecking world football Blatter or better yet, retire!
The FA is bad enough as it is with that misguided Palios in charge. It doesn't need to try and digest your predictably inane 'wisdom'. When you've got FIFA smelling like a bunch of roses, then come and talk down to the FA!
Oh and while my high horse is in full swing, give Oceania its single automatic WC entry spot back !
Adam, Sydney, Australia
Joe Cole's predicament is utterly ludicrous. Half a year after the fact, with the player in question playing for a different team in a different league! The FA's 'disciplinary procedures' are a shambles.
There is no defence for implementing this action now. It's been and gone; action must be taken immediately. In an age of telephones, video, rail and air travel, the week before the subsequent game is (more than) ample time to judge the situation and determine any action.
The FA should liaise with the North American professional leagues about their disciplinary procedures. Though far from perfect, they are at least prompt!
Stuart Boylan, Vancouver, Canada
For once I agree with Ken Bates - the delays in many disciplinary hearings are an absolute disgrace. 7 months is just a farce.
Then there's the Ferdinand affair, which is still dragging on. Not to mention how long it took to hear the cases arising out of the Man U v Arsenal fiasco. I could go on, but I'm sure you get my drift.
Fred Dixon, Australia