Now Sunderland are now optimistic that the warrant issued as Rio prepared to lead his country in the Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley - will be rescinded and that Ferdinand will avoid being locked up.
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However, it is believed that Ferdinand has insisted that he did not receive a standard letter summoning him to court and that will be the basis for having the warrant withdrawn, allowing him to concentrate on preparing for Sunderland's match at Blackburn on Monday and avoiding embarrassment for the club, the player and his family.
The 25 year-old who can expect to be rebuked by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce - is facing a driving ban due to the fact he already had nine points on his licence when he was caught using the handset behind the wheel.
Sunderland have not commented publicly on the issue but a spokesman for the Northumbria police force confirmed the warrant without bail had been issued for the defender's arrest.
This means that when he is traced by officers he can be held in court cells before being produced to face magistrates.
The force spokesman said: 'There has been no arrest at this stage. A warrant has been issued and we are aware.'
The offence in question occurred on the morning of July 13 when Ferdinand was seen in his white Range Rover on Newcastle's Central Motorway.
The former West Ham and England Under-21 international was travelling from his home at Baltic Quays in Gateshead to Newcastle International Airport, where he needed to catch a flight ahead of a pre-season friendly.