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Football: IT'S WAR; United and FA on course for showdown as Ferdinand's hit by 8-month drugs ban.

Byline: KEN GAUNT

MANCHESTER United last night attacked the FA's decision to ban Rio Ferdinand for eight months,branding it ``savage and unprecedented''.

Relations between the world's biggest club and Soho Square hit rock bottom after Ferdinand had the book thrown at him for missing a drugs test on September 23.

Ferdinand, 24, was also fined pounds 50,000 and ordered to pay costs following a two-day hearing at Bolton.

United director and solicitor Maurice Watkins said the club will appeal against the ban, which takes effect on January 12.

Reports and Reaction -Pages 38,39

CAPTION(S):

A disappointed Rio Ferdinand faces the media following news of yesterday's ban
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2003
Words:110
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