MANCHESTER City have apologised to Rio Ferdinand after he was hit above the left eye by a two-pence coin thrown from the crowd near the end of a heated derby clash against Manchester United yesterday.
The club said it “unreservedly condemns” the incident which took place as the defender celebrated his team’s last-gasp winner in their 3-2 Premier League victory at their rivals’ Etihad Stadium.
With blood pouring down his face, Ferdinand was then confronted by a City fan who had run on to the pitch.
The supporter slipped and fell before England and City keeper Joe Hart stepped in to separate the pair by restraining the pitch invader who was eventually arrested. Police are scouring CCTV footage at the Etihad Stadium in a bid to trace the coin-throwing culprit and the Football Association said it had launched its own inquiry.
Ferdinand, 34, later posted on his twitter account: “what a result, 3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin!”
He then wrote: “Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far...calm it!”
City said security officials would co-operate fully with Greater Manchester Police over incidents of missiles being thrown on to the field and, it said, between the rival fans. The club said: “Manchester City wishes to offer its sincere apologies to Rio Ferdinand. The club unreservedly condemns the actions which led to his being injured. GMP’s review of all fan behaviour at today’s match will be fully supported by the club, through the provision of CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts. Following this review, and any associated police action, the club will also apply its own disciplinary policies for any fans found guilty of offences.”
United striker Wayne Rooney was also forced to dodge objects thrown in his direction as he took a corner. Ferdinand’s team-mate Ashley Young said: “It could have taken Rio’s eye out and you’ve seen the cut on his head. When ‘Wazza’ [Rooney] was taking a corner there were so many objects being thrown on to the pitch as well.”