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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
England players' statement
The England squad released a statement on Wednesday evening confirming they will take part in Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey, but criticising the Football Association over Rio Ferdinand's exclusion.

The statement read: "Over the past two years since the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson as the England team manager, the England football team have talked consistently of showing togetherness and having a fantastic team spirit within our camp.

"We feel that, this week, the whole of our squad have shown that togetherness and spirit to be as strong as ever in the best possible way.

"It is our opinion that the organisation we represent has not only let down one of our team-mates, but the whole of the England squad and its manager.

"We feel that they have failed us very badly.

"One of our team-mates was penalised without being given the rights he is entitled to and without any charges being brought against him by the governing body of the game.

"Rio Ferdinand was entitled to confidentiality and a 'fair' hearing in front of an independent commission.

"We believe the people responsible for making the decision did not give Rio Ferdinand that due process and that has disrupted and made the team weaker against the wishes of the manager and the players.

"All the England players are proud to wear the England shirt and would never let England, Sven-Goran Eriksson or our magnificent fans down.

"The events of the last few days have not been easy to deal with, when you consider the lack of protection that our team-mate was given once this decision had been made.

"We apologise to our manager, staff and fans for any concerns that may have arisen over the past few days.

"In our minds, there has never been any question as to whether we would play in this game. We will continue our preparations for Saturday's game.

"We are fully focused on the match in Istanbul and the only thing that matters to the whole of the England squad and manager is that we qualify for the European Championships next summer.

"There will be no further comment on this matter until after the game in Turkey."




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England players' statement
"We feel the FA have let us down very badly"




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