A terrible week for football

The Joe Royle ColumnIT has been a terrible week for football. We have had the rape allegations, Rio Ferdinand missing a drug test and now a Leeds player is being investigated over an alleged sexual assault.

IT has been a terrible week for football. We have had the rape allegations, Rio Ferdinand missing a drug test and now a Leeds player is being investigated over an alleged sexual assault.

Without the full facts no one can jump to conclusions. We all have to watch this space and wait until all the facts come out and not accept the rumours as fact.

All this has nothing to do with how much footballers earn, they may have the cash to live the high life but it still boils down to basic human decency and that doesn't apply just to footballers.

They do need to be careful because more than ever they are under the spotlight. There is always a reporter with a pen or even worse a photographer and there are certain people both male and female who are willing to capitalise on a players' wealth and fame.

They are young lads and young people who are not mature and they are not going to be perfect.

The FA's reaction to the Ferdinand affair may have been over the top.

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The FA are taking a stance but they have not been consistent. There has to be a process of consistency and in Ferdinand's case it would appear the correct process has not been followed.

Again we don't know the full facts and I don't know that we never will. Ferdinand is guilty of ignorance and forgetting to take the blood test. To say he forgot is not good enough. He has a duty to himself and his family to look after himself and that is not to say there is anything untoward.

This will unite them. I can see the last thing said in the dressing room will be 'this one is for Rio'. It nice in away to see the solidarity, it is a union, brotherly thing and again people are quoting wages but it has nothing to do with money.

This is because the players feel one of their team has been let down by the FA and the publicity machine which has judged him before he has had a meeting with them.

And then there is the Leeds thing. Peter Reid has enough to worry about with the club's troubles on the field.

But again we need to reserve judgement until all the facts are out.

YOU may remember in this column I hoped that we would get Pierluigi Collina as the referee for the England Turkey match. Well someone important obviously reads this as I see after the original official pulled out due to injury the Italian has been given the game.

Any aspiring referee who wants to see how the master operates should watch Collina.

I'm sure he won't let us down and will run the game with authority, charisma and with the right attitude.

It speaks volumes when both England and Turkey announce their glee at his appointment and I'm sure he won't let us down.

MEGAN Reid from Clacton has asked what my favourite football joke is. Well, I always remember years ago I heard about a goalkeeper who was having a really bad time and decided to end it. He went to a main road and threw himself in front of a bus, but it went under his body.

AND finally my thanks to the lady with the banner next to the dug out proclaiming 'Big Slim Joe's Barmy Army' she is top of my Christmas card list.

As told to Derek Davis

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