• Euro 2012

Sol Campbell: Ferdinand omission is serious

ESPN staff
June 6, 2012 « FA chairman: Ferdinand talk off limits | Chartbeat test »

Former England defender Sol Campbell has questioned whether there is a "cover-up" with regard to Rio Ferdinand's omission from the Euro 2012 squad.

Questions have been raised over Roy Hodgson's decision not to call Manchester United defender Ferdinand into his squad even as injuries limited his options.

Hodgson has always maintained that the omission is down to "footballing reasons", but it has been suggested that Ferdinand has not been included as a result of the legal case surrounding John Terry's alleged racial abuse of his brother, Anton. It is an accusation Terry strongly denies.

Ferdinand's representative recently said that it was "nothing short of disgraceful" that Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly had been favoured as Gary Cahill's replacement and Campbell feels there is justification for his anger.

In a column for the Guardian newspaper, Campbell wrote: "We have now reached a point where big questions have to be asked over Rio Ferdinand's exclusion from England's squad for Euro 2012, such as what are the real reasons, and why? And, is there a cover-up?

"What we can say for sure is that this entire situation goes back to what did or did not happen between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand last season. That is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn and I for one never bought the argument that Rio had been left out of the original squad for 'footballing reasons'.

"In fairness to Hodgson, he was put in a difficult situation, and we don't know what pressures he may have been under, but his reasons for picking who he did simply made no sense - Rio had played great for Manchester United at the back-end of the season and was a key reason why they finished second in the Premier League and missed out on the title on goal difference alone. He is clearly in top shape and in top form and deserved his England place as much as anyone else."

He added: "A wider issue is if this episode leads to players in the future feeling reluctant to speak out against racism in case it harms their chances of being picked by England. That would be extremely serious and would have to lead to the government getting involved in some way.

"And if it is ever proven true that John Terry was chosen over Rio because of race then I would tell the FA that they can take back my 73 caps and scrub my name out of the record books. I would no longer want to be known as someone who played for England - that would be the end for me."

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