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Rio Ferdinand found guilty of improper conduct, escapes with just a fine

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We knew it was coming, and the Rio Ferdinand decision was announced to the world this morning. Rio Ferdinand was found guilty of improper conduct, fined 45,000 pounds, and given a warning going forward. The summary of the findings were published on the FA website this morning, the full decision can be found here.

The FA clearly took into account the fact that Ferdinand didn't make the original offensive comment, he simply repeated it for the world to see. That didn't surprise me at all. Rio's past work with the FA was also taken into account, something that will certainly prove to be worth watching as John Terry has his hearing. I was a bit surprised that he was not suspended for at least a game though, even though I really didn't expect to see a Luis Suarez-like hammer dropped in this case.

In the end, this punishment is probably pretty fair. I'd certainly have preferred to see Ferdinand given a suspension of some sort for this comment, but I'm not really all that upset that they didn't. I think Liverpool might have a bit of a complaint here though, as the book was thrown at Luis Suarez in an attempt to rid the game of racially charged comments. From the quiet hearing and relatively light punishment, I'd have to assume that the FA doesn't want to discourage players from using social media going forward, a viewpoint that is certainly understandable. Next up will be John Terry, so brace yourselves.