Monday 18 November 2019

Eight-game ban for Suarez but only four for Terry

Chelsea captain John Terry (right) speaking with QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Photo: PA
Chelsea captain John Terry (right) speaking with QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Photo: PA

Paul Kelso

JOHN TERRY will take legal advice before deciding whether to appeal against the four-match ban imposed on him by an English FA disciplinary commission, who found the Chelsea captain guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Terry was also fined £220,000 after being found guilty of misconduct in a Premier League match against Queens Park Rangers last October, in which he admits he directed the words "f****** black c***" towards Ferdinand.

Terry was acquitted of criminal charges arising form the same incident in July, but the FA disciplinary arm pursued the case despite the not-guilty verdict in a London court.

The Chelsea captain was found guilty of using "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour, which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race" by an Independent Regulatory Commission convened by the FA.

The IRC was chaired by barrister Craig Moore and also included FA councillor Maurice Armstrong and Stuart Ripley, the former Blackburn Rovers winger.

Terry's ban is half the length of the eight-match suspension handed down to Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was also fined £40,000 after being found to have repeatedly used the word 'negrito' towards Patrice Evra last season.

The length of Terry's ban is sure to attract comment, being just one match more than players receive for violent conduct and at the lower end of the scale for misconduct with racially aggravated circumstances.

But it is when Terry's punishment is compared to that imposed on Suarez that the biggest debate will rage.

The Liverpool striker was not judged to be 'racist' -- as with Terry -- but still received an eight-game ban because he used 'negrito' seven times.

His suspension was also lengthened because he was an "international footballer playing for one of the best known clubs in the world -- a position that carries a particular degree of responsibility. This is a serious breach of that responsibility."

What is Terry, captain of Chelsea and formally of England, if not an international player with one of the best known clubs in the world?

Should Terry choose to accept the verdict, he will miss the game against Arsenal tomorrow and Premier League matches in October against Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.


He would, however, be permitted to play in the Champions League against Nordsjaelland and Shakhtar Dontesk.

In that scenario, he would return for the Carling Cup fourth-round game against Manchester United at the end of next month.

Terry will wait until he receives the full written judgment from the commission before he makes his decision whether or not to appeal.

The contents of that judgment will be revealing, but it is worth bearing in mind that little could be as excruciating as the level of disclosure he was forced to go through in court in July with his explanation of his jibe concerning the affair with Wayne Bridge's "missus" and the songs sung about his mother.

It is a hunch that he may decide to take the Lance Armstrong approach, opting against appealing, but still protesting his innocence and expressing a desire to bring the process to a close.

Certainly, to his supporters, that would not be an admission of guilt, simply further evidence to stoke their belief that the process is flawed.

By nature, Terry is not the type to give up even though his legal bills will be enormous. He has proven himself to be extremely durable and he may feel that to accept the commission's verdict is unacceptable.

Terry has one year left on his contract after this season and he will doubtless be thinking soon that he would like to extend that deal.

For supporters of the club, it is a no-brainer. He is the most successful captain in their history, and a man they believe has been persecuted unfairly.

John Barnes, one of England's pioneering black footballers, believes that Terry should play international football again, despite an independent commission finding the player guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand.


Barnes, who won 79 England caps between 1983 and 1995, said that Terry was guilty of "unconscious racism," a condition he claimed was widespread in society.

He said Terry, who has retired from international football, should be allowed to play again for his country if he made himself available once he had served his suspension.

"You serve your punishment and that should be that," Barnes said. "Absolutely. Luis Suarez can play for Uruguay again.

"Of course (Terry) can play for England again. I don't think it's an issue for him to play for England again. The FA's decision has no bearing on that at all.

"I would never, ever say John Terry is a racist, but I would say John Terry is no more or less racist than anyone else.

"I actually have a bit of empathy with John Terry. Ninety-nine per cent of us, me included, are unconscious racists, because we have an opinion on someone based on history, what we have seen, and what we've seen on television.

"If a man turned up in a turban to manage Liverpool when I was playing for them, I would question him.

"If a white German, who I've never met, turned up to manage Liverpool I'll question him -- but not as much as I would question the man with the turban, based on the fact that 'he's from India -- so what does he know?'

"People say things without realising. I've had this discussion with a lot of old players from Liverpool and they all say, 'I never called anyone a black this or black that.'

"I understand that because people do not even realise they are doing it. If John Terry did it, I think he probably would not even remember doing it where a conscious racist would remember." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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