Former England captain Rio Ferdinand “should have known better” than to become involved in a Twitter row which has seen the QPR defender suspended for three matches, according to the Football Association.
The 35-year-old was handed a £25,000 fine as well as suspension for using the term “sket” – which is a term for a promiscuous girl or woman – on the social media site on September 1 following a message suggesting Ferdinand’s team needed a new centre-half.
Ferdinand, who left Manchester United in the summer, has yet to confirm whether he will appeal, with the deadline set for November 10.
The veteran defender is a regular Twitter user, having sent more than 14,000 Tweets since signing online in June 2010.
The FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission on Monday released its written reasons for the case.
The statement read: “With nearly six million followers Mr Ferdinand is clearly an experienced Twitter user and he should know better than to respond in the way that he did.
“It is said on his behalf that he is one of the most high profile sportsmen on Twitter and he is, without doubt, a role model for many young people, no doubt throughout the world. His responsibility is therefore that much greater than many others.
“Unfortunately there is no formal or direct admission and there is certainly no sign of remorse.”
Ferdinand was last month charged by the FA with “misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in respect of the comment and it was alleged that such a comment was abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper. Further it was alleged that the breach of Rule E3(1) is an “Aggravated Breach” as defined in Rule E3(2) as it included reference to gender.”
His post read: “@ManCunian56: @rioferdy5 @matiousmarston Maybe QPR will sign a good CB they need one” > get ya mum in, plays the field well son! #sket”
The defender, however, failed to reply to the charge, although “his solicitors had responded on his behalf to a request for observations from The FA as part of the investigation”.
The FA regulatory commission statements revealed Ferdinand’s solicitors explains “the #sket was being used to indicate that the ‘mum’ was able to play anywhere, i.e. including the centre back position in which the original sender had apparently claimed Mr Ferdinand needed to be replaced, and it was not a comment intended to denigrate the recipient’s mother”.
However this explanation was rejected, with Language and Innovation Consultant at Kings College London, Mr T Thorne stating the term referenced as “a sexual slur, understood to have originated in Jamaican usage and has since been used in a slang register in the UK” and is listed in Mr Thorne’s own ‘Bloomsbury Dictionary of Contemporary Slang’ as follows: “a promiscuous and/or disreputable female. A term used by young street-gang members in London since around 2000”, adding “expert opinion that a neutral person would assume in this case that ‘sket’ is a term of abuse and in this context would be taken as insulting”.
In 2012, Ferdinand was fined £45,000 by the FA for using the term “choc ice” in a Twitter message after Ashley Cole gave evidence on behalf of his Chelsea team-mate John Terry during the latter’s trial at Westminster magistrates court.
However, the FA Independent Regulatory Commission noted despite this being a second offence of “Aggravated Breach of Rule E3(1)”, because it was a comment posted on Twitter, they were not bound to impose an extended suspension.
As well as the ban and fine, Ferdinand has also been told to attend an education programme arranged by the FA.