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Euro 2012: England, Roy Hodgson Embroiled in Rio Ferdinand Controversy

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 01:  England manager Roy Hodgson during a press conference at Wembley Stadium on June 1, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterJune 6, 2012

The Rio Ferdinand situation isn't going away for England and Roy Hodgson. It's becoming worse.

Already a distraction, the saga over the snubbing of Ferdinand has now taken on a life of its own, with current and former players, pundits and coaches all wading into the controversy.

If you're not quite clear on what's going on, The Daily Telegraph has a nice rundown of the situation. Basically, Hodgson left Ferdinand, 33, out of his England squad for Euro 2012, citing "footballing reasons."

Some felt Hodgson's decision had more to do with the ongoing scandal involving England defender John Terry, who stands accused of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton during a match last fall. Considering Terry's situation—he's set to stand trial after Euro 2012—it made sense that Terry and Ferdinand could not both fit into the team.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole warm up during the England training session at London Colney on October 8, 2010 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ferdinand famously offered his opinion via Twitter:

What reasons?????!!!

— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 3, 2012

The plot twisted further when another England defender, Terry's teammate Gary Cahill, suffered a broken jaw and was ruled out of the tournament. Thus the stage seemed set for Ferdinand to finally receive his England call-up.

Instead, Hodgson snubbed Ferdinand again in favor of 22-year-old Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, who has one senior cap compared to Ferdinand's 81.

The latest snub sparked even more heated outrage, with anti-racism group Kick It Out reportedly considering a "robust condemnation" (per The Guardian).

The outcry didn't end there.

Retired footballer Paul Ince, England's first black captain, has criticized Hodgson (via the Daily Mail), as have Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp (per Express.co.uk), Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler and Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart (via The Guardian).

Hodgson, meanwhile, has received high-profile support from former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who claims the backlash is a "smear campaign" (per ESPN Soccernet).

Amidst all the chaos, one could be forgiven for failing to notice that Terry has officially been passed fit for England's Euro 2012 campaign (via The Independent).

For a team that's already dealing with too many injuries and too little preparation, the time could hardly be worse for a squad dispute to erupt into a fully formed and unwanted controversy.

Controversy, though, is exactly what England's manager will bring with his team to Euro 2012.

 

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