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Rio Ferdinand To Be Judge On New ITV1 Show Hosted By Vernon Kay

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Merk'd: Ferdinand has been criticised by United fans for his extra-curricular activities | PA

Former England soccer captain Rio Ferdinand, who was controversially left out of the national squad about to start its campaign at Euro 2012, will be one of the judges on a new ITV1 show, it was announced today.

The Manchester United defender, whose omission from the squad sparked stinging criticism in some quarters, will be on the panel for sports entertainment programme Let's Get Gold.

The other judges will be former England cricketer Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, singer and actress Martine McCutcheon, and singer-songwriter and part of successful girl group The Saturdays, Una Healy.

Ferdinand said: "I can't wait to get started on the judging panel of Let's Get Gold. It's set to be a fantastic show, capturing the nation's sporting mood perfectly. I am very excited to be working with Freddie, Martine and Una in the search for new sporting stars. May the best team win!"

The mini-series of three pre-recorded episodes, to be shown on consecutive nights in early July, will feature 15 sporting teams from across the UK battling it out for a £100,000 prize.

The challenge for the teams is to transform their sport into the most spectacular and entertaining routine.

Head of entertainment, Thames, Suzy Lamb said: "We are delighted to be confirming a line-up of judges who have experience right across the sports and entertainment arenas.

"Teams will be displaying their skills in disciplines as wide-ranging as martial arts and cheerleading, and the panel will be looking for the UK's biggest and brightest sporting talents to showcase their skills like they've never been seen before."

The show's host, Vernon Kay, said: "With the Olympics just around the corner and sport fever hitting the UK this show provides the stage for local sporting teams to show off their skills and sporting prowess."

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