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By ESPN Staff

Cops charge Hammer Ferdinand with assault

West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand was charged with assault and violent disorder today after an incident outside a nightclub, police said.

The charges relate to an alleged incident outside Faces nightclub in Ilford, east London, on October 2.

Ferdinand, 21, of Grove Park, Mottingham, south-east London, the brother of Manchester United star Rio, will appear before magistrates in Redbridge on Friday.

The SEM group, which represents Ferdinand, issued a statement to the Press Association today, saying the player 'maintains his innocence'.

'We confirm that Anton Ferdinand, the West Ham and England under-21 international, has today been charged with assault.

'Anton looks forward to having the opportunity to explain in court the incident and nature of his actions on the night in question, October 2 2006.

'He maintains his innocence and believes his actions were justified and that because of this he believes he has not done anything wrong.

'At this stage we would ask the media to exercise restraint and allow him time to focus on his football.

'There will be no further statement at this time and Anton will keep the media informed on any developments in due course in so far as his legal advisors allow.

'This statement is in conjunction with Anton's lawyers, Shillings.'

Ferdinand, who was born in Peckham, south east London, has played for West Ham since December 2002, making 93 league appearances.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Anton Ferdinand, 21, a professional footballer, of Mottingham, south east London, appears on bail at Redbridge Magistrates Court on Friday charged with ABH and violent disorder following an incident outside Faces nightclub on Cranbrook Rd, Ilford, on October 2.'

West Ham were unwilling to comment.