Video: Terry to face criminal trial over racial abuse claim
CHELSEA and England captain John Terry is to be charged with racially abusing a fellow player.
The 31-year-old is to be prosecuted in the courts after being filmed during a match appearing to shout an offensive slur at Anton Ferdinand.
Multi-millionaire Terry has denied calling Queens Park Rangers defender Ferdinand a "black ****" during a Barclays Premier League match at Loftus Road on October 23.
Terry today said he was disappointed with the decision and said: ‘‘I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence.’’
But in a statement, Alison Saunders, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said she had told Scotland Yard he should be prosecuted for "a racially aggravated public order offence".
Ms Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London said: "I have today advised the Metropolitan Police Service that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments allegedly made during a Premier League football match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October, 2011.
"The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all the evidence I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.
"Mr Terry will appear before West London Magistrates' Court on 1 February, 2012.
"He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."
Terry's future as a leading international player will be thrown into doubt by a potential trial.
He is one of the most decorated English players in the modern domestic game, having led his west London club to a string of trophies and league titles.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas pledged his support to the defender shortly before the CPS made its announcement.
"The only thing I know is that I will be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome," he said.
"He has my full support, he has the club's full support. We know exactly his human values and personality. They are never in doubt."
Videos of the alleged incident were circulated on the internet in the aftermath of the game.
Lawyers had asked police for more information regarding the incident before making their decision.
New evidence, featuring previously unseen footage from TV cameras, was handed to the CPS last week.
Terry, who has been absent from training with Chelsea in recent days after suffering an Achilles problem, has been included in the playing squad for the club's next game, a London derby against Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow night.
Shortly after the allegations were made, Terry issued a statement saying: "I've seen that there's a lot of comments on the internet with regards to some video footage of me during the game.
"I'm disappointed that people have leapt to the wrong conclusions about the context of what I was seen to be saying to Anton Ferdinand.
"I would never say such a thing, and I'm saddened that people would think so."
Campaigners have launched lengthy battles to rid football of racism, which plagued the game during the 1980s.