Terry set to face full police investigation into alleged racist abuse
Published 02/11/2011 | 05:00
The Metropolitan Police last night launched a formal investigation into allegations that Chelsea captain John Terry racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Officers have spent the past few days assessing whether to pursue a complaint from a member of the public, who had seen video footage, following the Premier League match between the two sides at Loftus Road on Sunday, October 23.
It has now been decided that, given the potential seriousness of the matter, a full investigation is required involving interviewing all parties and taking witness statements.
The police have studied hours of recordings of the match after requesting it be handed over by the broadcaster Sky, who had 20 cameras at the game. Terry has vehemently denied making a racist remark to Ferdinand.
The police investigation will take precedence over inquiries being made by the FA, which has now received statements from both players. It would be expected that, by moving matters on, the police may delay the FA's own findings, but it is still hoped that the case might be resolved quickly.
All parties are also acutely aware that Fabio Capello is set to announce his next England squad on Sunday evening, ahead of friendlies with Spain and Sweden.
If the police have not concluded their investigations by then, the FA and Capello will have to decide whether it is in everyone's best interests if Terry is not selected.
However, that course of action might also lead to assumptions about Terry's guilt. If Terry were charged it is likely to be under the public order act relating to racial or religious hatred.
Ferdinand has submitted an account of his exchange with Terry to the FA, and said he had "strong feelings on the matter".
An FA spokesman said it would be inappropriate for the FA to comment until the police have completed their own enquiries.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, have asked police to identify the person who racially abused striker Sammy Ameobi on Twitter. It has also emerged that Ferdinand has been verbally attacked on the site.
Ameobi retweeted a message to his followers on Monday in which someone had called him a n****r. Ameobi added: "It's sad some people are still racist these days."
On Monday night, Ferdinand retweeted messages of support for his stance on the Terry allegations, but also reproduced a racist comment directed at him from someone purporting to be a Chelsea supporter. The tweet, repeating what Terry is alleged to have said, read: "RT (retweet) this you f****** black ****, 1 England captain."
The accounts from which the comments were made have now been shut down, but Newcastle are determined to pursue the matter.
Yesterday, the club asked police to discover the identity of the account holder so legal proceedings could begin. A statement posted on the club's website read: "Newcastle United are aware of a racist remark that was directed towards Sammy Ameobi via Twitter on Sunday.
"The club and Sammy have reported the matter to the police, who are now dealing with the incident. Newcastle United will not tolerate racism of any kind and will take the strongest possible action against those responsible." (© Daily Telegraph, London)