Following what can only be described as an enthralling Manchester Derby, the Football Association has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into the attack on Rio Ferdinand in the closing stages of the then-tie. The investigation comes after the Manchester United defender was struck in the eye with what appeared to be a coin during his celebration of Robin van Persie's last-gasp winner.
The cowardly attack has seemingly cast a shadow over what was a fantastic showing of football at the City of Manchester Stadium. Ferdinand was left with a clear cut above his eye, and although the injury itself isn't anything to be alarmed by, the mentality behind the attack is something that requires immediate action.
In a statement released by the FA on their website, the governing body announced:
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 advisor who was present at the game and the match referee.
A spokesperson further added:
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.
We will work with the clubs and authorities to identify those responsible and support the strongest sanctions available, including life bans.
For those who remember, this "coin incident" isn't the first of its kind to have occurred during a Manchester Derby. In 2010, in the Carling Cup, Craig Bellamy was stuck by a coin whilst taking a corner for Manchester City in a semi-final against United. Thankfully, those responsible for the Bellamy attack were rightly held accountable for their actions.
With ties such as the Manchester Derby drawing attention from all over the world, it is a shame to see such a great advertisement for the world game be marred by the actions of a few. Let's hope the FA is able to send a clear message to those responsible.