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FA chairman: Ferdinand talk off limits

ESPN staff
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The chairman of the Football Association, David Bernstein, says the issue of Rio Ferdinand's exclusion from the England squad will not be discussed until after Euro 2012.

England arrived in Poland on Wednesday ahead of their opening match against France, which takes place on Monday. The 23-man squad flew into Krakow to be greeted by hundreds of England fans waiting outside the hotel.

However, the talking point remains the omission of Ferdinand from Roy Hodgson's squad, initially justified by "footballing reasons". That explanation has weakened in substance since Gary Cahill was forced out of the tournament by injury, to be replaced by inexperienced Liverpool fringe player Martin Kelly.

Hodgson is due to hold a press conference on Thursday, when he will undoubtedly be pressed on the issue, but Bernstein insists the topic will be left until after the tournament.

"We're here to talk about the tournament, about the 23 players who are here and I'm not prepared to discuss - at all - any players who are not here," Bernstein said.

"It might be an issue - but it's an issue I'm happy to talk about when the tournament is over maybe. We are here to talk about the tournament and about the future and that's it.

"We all want to maximise our chances of doing well and we want to focus on what's ahead of us - not what is behind us.

"We'd hope you would join us in that, looking forward to do the very best we can with positive thoughts and not dwelling on all these sort of what are now frankly historical, extraneous issues."

Bernstein clearly wishes for Hodgson to also let the issue rest until after the tournament, although he appeared to hint that the England manager is not banned from addressing the controversy - if he wishes to do so.

"I am sure he [Hodgson] can speak for himself, but I imagine you'll get the same answer," Bernstein said.

"We are here to do the best we can and focus on this coming two or three weeks - three weeks hopefully. There's no point in pressing. There is no way we are talking about players who are not here."

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