LONDON: The Football Association has launched an investigation into an incident at the end of the Manchester derby when a coin was thrown from the crowd and hit Rio Ferdinand.
The Manchester United defender was celebrating his side’s third, winning goal in their 3-2 victory at Eastlands. The defender was cut just above the left eye, prompting action by Greater Manchester Police and the FA.
After Ferdinand was struck by the object, a Manchester City fan ran onto the pitch in the England defender’s direction. He slipped and fell to the ground as he approached Ferdinand but was then obstructed by City goalkeeper Joe Hart who pushed him away. The supporter was arrested.
Another man was arrested inside the ground on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence after officers heard racist chanting.
In terms of the Ferdinand issue, an FA statement read: “The FA is investigating the incident in which an object was thrown from the crowd and hit Rio Ferdinand following Manchester United’s third goal against Manchester City on Sunday.
“The FA will liaise with Greater Manchester Police and await the reports of both our crowd control adviser who was present at the game and the match referee.”
An FA spokesperson added: “It is disappointing that after a great game and advert for the Premier League that we are discussing this issue. 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.
“Football in this country has made great progress over recent decades. However, we must maintain the safety and security inside of our stadia and to do this we need to isolate and identify any individuals guilty of offences with strong penalties to act as a deterrent to others.”
Manchester City apologised to Ferdinand, saying: “We apologise to Rio. 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.”
When Ferdinand, who was able to complete the match, left the pitch after the final whistle he was seen to have an object in his hand which he showed to referee Martin Atkinson before he threw it to the ground.
A message on Ferdinand’s official Twitter account posted at 4.34pm read: “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!”
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