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Football Association chief executive Mark Palios has stated he was not looking to make a scapegoat of Rio Ferdinand following his failure to take a drugs test.

The Manchester United defender is appealing against his eight-month ban and Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson had hinted that the recently-appointed Palios was intent on using the issue as a show of strength.

But Palios told the Financial Times: “I didn’t set out for a fight, as Sir Alex Ferguson may have thought I wanted. I wasn’t looking for a test case.”

Palios also admitted he was unhappy with the response of the England players’, who threatened strike action in support of Ferdinand.

“I wasn’t happy with the way I felt that team spirit had been manipulated to serve another agenda.

“Actually I believe in reality the players always knew they were going to get on the plane.

“It was difficult and it was painful for me because I would like to be liked by the players.

“But I have to accept that in the job that I’m in, you can compromise but not be compromised.”

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