Ferdinand was last week called up for the World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Montenegro, but yesterday he withdrew due to what England manager Roy Hodgson called "the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow".
The last of Ferdinand's 81 England caps came in a Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Switzerland in June 2011.
He was controversially left out of England's squad for Euro 2012 last summer, when John Terry's court case for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton was approaching. Terry, who was selected for the tournament, was found not guilty in court in July 2012.
Hodgson decided now was the time to recall the Manchester United defender, who has shown impressive form for his club this season.
Had Hodgson spoken to Ferdinand ahead of last Thursday's squad announcement, it is possible the 34-year-old's training regime could have been altered. Ferdinand said last night that he was "gutted" to have to pull out.
Richards, who is also on the Football Association board, said on Sky Sports: "Rio has been a fantastic servant to England and he's been a great person for the game, and to one day say he's going to play and the next day (to say he isn't going to play), I think that does bring the game into a little bit of disrepute, and perhaps we need to learn a lesson and do a bit of checking first within the FA.
"It's not good to the Premier League or to Manchester United or Roy Hodgson for one day Rio to say he's going to play and the next day to say he's not. It's something that's not quite right."
Ferdinand himself never confirmed he would play, but United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said on Saturday night after his side's Barclays Premier League match against Reading that the player would join up with the squad.