John Terry verdict

Terry found guilty of racism

September 27, 2012
By ESPN staff and Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

John Terry has been banned for four games after a Football Association commission found him guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a match at Loftus Road in October 2011.

John Terry
PA PhotosJohn Terry: Tribunal called his defence 'contrived'

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Terry, 31 - who announced his decision to retire from international football before the start of the FA hearing, saying the association had made his position with the national team "untenable" - has also been fined £220,000.

In July, Westminster Magistrates' Court cleared him of racially abusing Ferdinand. He had strongly denied the FA charge of "using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race".

A hearing into the charge against Terry began at Wembley on Monday, and could theoretically have lasted until Friday.

In a statement, the FA said: "The decision is as follows: Mr Terry be suspended from all domestic club football until such time as Chelsea's first team have completed four competitive matches, and fined the sum of £220,000."

The FA said the commission would provide written reason for its decision "in due course". Terry has 14 days after receiving the written reasons for the decision in which to appeal.

A statement from the former England captain's management said he was "disappointed" by the punishment and would now be considering whether or not to lodge an appeal.

It added: "Mr Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law."

A Chelsea statement said the club "notes and respects today's decision by the Football Association regarding John Terry", adding: "We also recognise that John has the right to appeal that decision. It is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further on the matter at this time."

The FA said the ban would be suspended "until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Terry decide not to appeal", meaning he will be available for selection against Arsenal on Saturday.

Terry's legal team are believed to be meeting to discuss an appeal, and it is thought an appeal had been planned even before the hearing began.

It seems highly likely that Terry will appeal against the verdict. Anti-racism group Kick It Out said it was unable to comment on the FA commission's decision, with chairman Lord Herman Ouseley saying: "Sorry - but I am not at liberty to comment, as it might prejudice any likely appeal."

ESPN understands that both Chelsea and the FA have requested that Kick It Out make no comment about the decision. Kick It Out will be making a statement once all the processes involved have run their course.

Ray Wilkins, who coached Terry at Chelsea, said he was upset by the verdict, telling ESPN: "Does this brand John Terry a racist? He is not a racist. I am disappointed in the outcome."

Wilkins gave evidence on Terry's behalf during the court case and had been prepared to give a character witness appearance on his behalf before the FA.

The prosecution in Terry's London court case had been unable to prove that he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***'' as an insult. He claimed to have been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

Delivering his verdict after a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said: "Even with all the help the court has received from television footage, expert lip readers, witnesses and indeed counsel, it is impossible to be sure exactly what were [all] the words spoken by Mr Terry at the relevant time."

Announcing his decision to retire from international football on Sunday - a decision England manager Roy Hodgson said he had "reluctantly accepted" - Terry said: "I am making this statement in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable."

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last December.

It had been widely thought likely that Terry would be given a similar ban if found guilty by the FA hearing, at which the burden of proof is lower than that in a criminal trial.

Joey Barton slammed the length of the ban on Twitter, saying: "Well I think that proves a lot. What an absolute farce. Twelve games for violent conduct and only four for that. FA should be embarrassed. £shambles.

"Had a vivid dream last night involving Terry, a roaring crowd and a firing squad. Ah, not the turnout I expected... I was expecting at least a public execution after a year. Twelve games!!! By the FA's perverse reckoning, I'd of got less of a ban for racially abusing the Man City players than tickling them as I did. In what circumstance can that be right?''