Terry to contest FA racial abuse charge
CHELSEA captain John Terry last night set the stage for another monumental disciplinary case for the English Football Association when he requested a personal hearing to contest a charge that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand.
The FA announced their decision to charge Terry just three hours before last night's opening ceremony of the London Games was due to begin, inviting criticism that the timing was a cynical attempt to bury a controversial decision.
English football's governing body famously released the full judgment on Luis Suarez's racial abuse charge last December on New Year's Eve.
Within minutes of the announcement, Terry and Chelsea, who had been informed of the FA's decision earlier in the day, released a statement in which they outlined their intention to contest the charges.
Terry (31) is currently with the Chelsea squad in Miami, where they play Milan in a friendly today, the last game of their tour of the United States.
The Chelsea skipper was acquitted by Westminster magistrates' court on July 13 of a racially aggravated public order offence after district judge Howard Riddle ruled that he could not be found guilty on the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt. The standard of proof on the FA charge is the civil standard of the balance of probability.
Terry is accused by the FA in relation to the incident at Loftus Road on October 23 last year in which he is alleged to have called QPR defender Ferdinand a "f****** black c***".
At his trial last month he admitted to using the words but claimed that they were a sarcastic response to Ferdinand who, Terry claimed, had first accused him of using the term of abuse.
The FA has charged Terry with breaking rules E3(1) and E3(2) in his alleged abuse of Ferdinand -- an identical charge to that which was laid against Suarez after his clash with Patrice Evra at Old Trafford eight days before the Ferdinand-Terry incident.
The Liverpool striker was found guilty and given an eight-game ban and a £40,000 fine.
The exact charge against Terry for E3(1) is for using "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand, contrary to FA rules".
On the E3(2) charges the FA said: "It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Anton Ferdinand."
Terry said last night, in a statement on the Chelsea website: "I deny the charge and I will be requesting the opportunity to attend the commission for a personal hearing."
As with Suarez, Terry will face a four-man independent panel, three of whom will be drawn from FA lists which all clubs endorse annually.
Chelsea will be told the identity of the individuals on the board and will be able to veto any of their involvement. The fourth member of the panel is likely to be an independent lawyer with expertise in this area of sports law.
The basic punishment for this kind of offence is a four-game ban. In Suarez's case the commission decided it was insufficient to reflect the severity of his offence, in which he repeatedly used the word "negro" in relation to Evra, and raised it to eight games.
Terry is alleged to have used the phrase "f****** black c***" just once.
The FA does not appear to have ever considered charging Ferdinand despite his admission in court that in the exchange with Terry on the pitch the QPR defender repeatedly called his opponent a "c***" and accused him of "shagging Bridgey's missus" -- a reference to Terry's alleged extra-marital affair with the former partner of Wayne Bridge.
The FA believes that charging players for evidence they gave during an investigation would be such a disincentive to witnesses coming forward that running their disciplinary hearings would become impossible. (© Independent News Service)