London: The Football Association (FA) has opened an investigation after Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin by a rival fan, which led to bleeding, and confronted by a supporter on the pitch during their stormy derby match against local rivals Manchester City. City offered their sincere apologies to Ferdinand in a statement on Sunday and unreservedly condemned the incidents. “Security officials are co-operating fully with Greater Manchester Police in relation to events leading up to the throwing of missiles onto the field of play, and between the two sets of supporters,” the Telegraph quoted a club statement, as saying.
FA officials will await reports from referee Martin Atkinson and its crowd control adviser but City is likely to face sanction for the failure of their stewards to prevent the pitch invasion and also the missile attack on Ferdinand. The FA will support the handing out of life bans to those supporters responsible for the appalling behaviour. “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,” an FA spokesperson said. “Football in this country has made great progress over recent decades.
However, we must maintain the safety and security inside of our stadia and to do this we need to isolate and identify any individuals guilty of offences with strong penalties to act as a deterrent to others,” the spokesperson added. United won the derby match 3-2 with Robin Van Persie scoring the winner with a free kick in the dying minutes, and the win extended United’s lead to six points at the top of Premier League table.