Yesterday it was confirmed that Ted Terry, the father of Chelsea captain John, has been charged with racially-aggravated assault.
John Terry was banned for five matches after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand on the pitch. Just like the chief magistrate in court, they deemed his defence “improbable and contrived”.
Luis Suarez revealed earlier this month that he was ready to leave Liverpool FC. Rather than being honest to the fans and explaining that, justifiably, he wants to join a better club who can compete for the Champions League every year, he has blamed his decision on the country.
Suarez has been regularly criticised in the media after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, biting Branislav Ivanovic (the second time in his career that he has bitten someone on the pitch), sticking his finger up at the crowd and diving. Any normal person could see that if a player had done these things and not been criticised, something would be very wrong.
“Ever since I arrived I have felt bad, they have never judged me for my play but with the attitude that he dives, protests, makes gestures, racism… everything,” he told television show RR Gol.
His biggest complaint was the difference in treatment between John Terry and himself when they were both found guilty of racially abusing an opponent, accusing this country of discriminating against him because he wasn’t English.
“Without any proof they gave me an eight-match ban, but with Terry, where they had proof, lip-readers, they gave him four. I’m South American and I think that’s the root of all of this,” he claimed.
The problem with what Suarez has said here is that they did have proof. Their proof was Suarez’s own testimony. Whilst John Terry was caught on camera shouting “fucking black cunt” at Anton Ferdinand, he came up with the laughable excuse that he was asking Ferdinand whether he had accused him of calling him a “fucking black cunt” at the time the camera was on him. However ridiculous this explanation is does not change that it couldn’t be proven beyond reasonable doubt in court. Despite the chief magistrate giving his opinion that Terry’s defence was “unlikely”, there wasn’t enough evidence to disprove Terry’s silly story.
In the case of Suarez, they didn’t need lip readers to tell them what Suarez said to Evra because he told them himselves.
In the weeks leading up to the FA report being published, some newspapers claimed that the word Suarez had used was “negrito”, a less offensive and more friendly version of “negro”. They were speculating. Some Liverpool fans who, for some reason, never read the FA report still claim that this is the word Suarez used.
The FA report takes the statements of both Suarez and Evra, amongst others, and both players agree that “negro” is the word Suarez used when arguing with Evra.
Paragraph 6 of the report deals with Suarez’s explanation: “According to Mr Suarez, at no point in the goal mouth did he use the word “negro”. When the referee blew his whistle to stop play, Mr Evra said [in English] “Don’t touch me, South American.” Mr Suarez replied “Por que, negro?” Mr Suarez claimed he used “negro” as a noun and as a friendly form of address to people seen as black or brown-skinned.”
The language experts confirmed in the FA report that “negro” could be used between friends in Uruguay without any connotations of racism. They also confirmed that the word, like in England, was still a form of racist abuse if not said between friends.
Suarez admitted in the FA report that he pinched Evra and that he hit him around the back of the head. He also admitted to an earlier foul when he kicked Evra in the knee. He revealed that he was not friends with Evra. The argument they had was in the middle of a Liverpool vs United fixture at Anfield, one of the most hate-filled rivalries in the world. The FA rightly dismissed Suarez’s ridiculous claim that that he was calling Evra “negro” in a friendly way.
So, that is Suarez’s first complaint dealt with. The proof that he racially abused Evra came from his own testimony.
The next issue is to do with the length of the ban. Suarez was banned for eight games whilst Terry was banned for just four. Why?
Terry, like Suarez, was charged with a breach of the FA’s Rule E3(2) which states that football people should not use “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour”. The rule states that if such abuse includes “reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour or race”, the panel can consider doubling the penalty it would have imposed had that “aggravating factor” not been present. The panel in the Suarez case specifically said that a four-game ban “is the entry-point” for breaches of E3(2) and it did double that minimum penalty to “reflect the gravity of the misconduct”.
The fact that Terry has been sanctioned with the minimum penalty suggests that the panel in his case, despite finding him guilty, did not find the reference to Ferdinand’s colour or race an aggravating factor such that it would double the ban.
However, whilst Suarez was banned for longer, Terry was fined more. It was a £220,000 fine for Terry and a £40,000 fine for Suarez, with the regulatory panels taking into account a player’s weekly wage.
6/6/13 – Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager: “I am a coach who looks for a meritocracy. Whoever I think is best must play – without looking at status or the past. You play as you train. It is a normal situation. As it was normal for me to leave Materazzi, a mythical player at Inter Milan, on the bench. Or like Benitez this year at Chelsea with Terry.”
7/6/13 – John Terry linked with a big money move to Monaco.
Carlos Tevez to Liverpool
21/1/13 – Tevez: “I’ve got a year left on my contract at Manchester City and they want me to sign for two more seasons. I would prefer to return home, but it is very difficult because City won’t let me leave for nothing. I will stay in Europe for another two years and then go back. Boca’s president always says the door is open for me to re-join them and I am dying to pull on their shirt once more. I want to end my career with them. It is my dream and the dream of my family as well. But I am under contract and have to be here in England.”
19/5/13 – Tevez: “For me, Monaco is one of the largest French clubs, and any player would go there. I have a one-year contract left at City and I am happy, and I love playing in the Premier League – but a project like Monaco I really like. I know Ranieri [Monaco coach] and he has proven he is a great coach so for me this would be great.”
7/6/13 – Reports emerge linking Tevez, with just one year remaining on his current deal, to Liverpool as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who has confirmed he wants to leave the club.
Hulk to Chelsea
12/8/12 – Hulk: “I have left a door open for being transferred to another league. I have preference for playing in the Premier League or the Spanish Liga, because they are the two leagues that are the most seen all over the world.”
3/9/12 – Hulk signs for Zenit Saint Petersburg from Porto for €60m.
26/9/12 – Hulk: “I think I’ll adapt eventually, but no doubt the fact they speak a different language in Russia creates some difficulties. Still, I feel the atmosphere is great at the team. I’m happy for playing for Zenit, absolutely everyone supports me. I’m trying to adapt to the team and to Zenit in general as soon as possible.”
5/12/12 – Hulk: “I feel well in St Petersburg, my family is happy and my son, too. But if the situation with Luciano Spalletti doesn’t improve, I might leave in January. I don’t know if Italy will be my destination, but anything can happen.”
30/5/12 – Teodoro Fonseca, Hulk’s agent: “There are two great teams of the Premier League to have made their interest known. It is normal that such news would arise because it was with Andre Villas-Boas and Porto where Hulk had his best time. The future of Hulk is with Zenit, but I have never made such statements [about Monaco], I have not spoken to anyone from France.”
6/6/13 – Reports that Chelsea have made a £35m offer for Hulk
7/6/13 – “If I said there wasn’t anything in it [Chelsea link], I would be lying. But that is not for now. At the moment, I am 100 per cent focused on the Selecao (Brazil team), and I hope to be a Confederations Cup winner with my country. It is a matter of great pride for me to be playing in the yellow jersey, so near to my family. Other matters will have to wait until afterwards.”
Claude Makelele published an autobiography in 2009, ‘Tout Simplement’, which revealed that the reason behind Jose Mourinho’s dismissal in 2007 was John Terry. After being told that he was going to be dropped, a disgruntled Terry apparently went to complain about the manager to Peter Kenyon and Roman Abramovich. Then he gave the club an ultimatum, claiming he would hand in a transfer request if Mourinho wasn’t dealt with.
Makelele wrote: I got the news from Didier Drogba. ‘He’ll be sacked tomorrow,’ he told me. I was so surprised. I thought Mourinho was practically untouchable … The next morning at Cobham, our new training centre, it was chaos. There were photographers everywhere, journalists trying to get in touch with me, even helicopters flying over our heads.
Most of the players were together in the changing rooms. I met Rui [Faria], our physical trainer, and asked him if everything was OK. ‘No, no Claude. The rumours are true. The coach has been fired.’ I asked him why and he explained a lot of players had complained about him, notably John Terry. I then learnt Mourinho had told the club’s captain that he was going to be left on the bench for a few matches to give him enough time to recover from a back operation he’d undergone in the middle of the previous season [in December 2006].
John let it be known that he was OK to play on but Mourinho insisted. He told him his [Terry’s] level of performance was suffering because of his back problems and repeated clearly that he [Terry] would be replaced until told otherwise. He even pointed out that the central defence would, from now on, be Ricardo Carvalho and Alex. War had been declared.
For John this was treason. He believed – rightly, in my opinion – that by giving his all in the second half of the previous season, even though he was in great pain, he deserved more playing time in order to find his optimum playing level. Mourinho had provoked a ‘clash’ too far. Had it been me, [Michael] Ballack or [Andriy] Shevchenko it might have passed but, if there is one person who is untouchable at Chelsea, then it is John. And Mourinho knew.
So why take such a risk? Because he’d had enough and was looking for a way out? As it was always, when John Terry let his unhappiness be known to [the chief executive Peter] Kenyon and asked him for a transfer, Abramovich reacted immediately. The departure of Terry was unimaginable from the point of view of the supporters, the players or the owners. Mourinho was asked to pack his bags.
The club and captain were quick to deny Makelele’s claims and a few stories circulated in the press that Terry was going to sue Makelele, but nothing ever came of that.
Chelsea released a statement: “It is not a true version of events with regard to the transfer request as there wasn’t one. Nor was the captain responsible for Mourinho’s departure. Jose’s departure was mutually agreed between him and the club.”
That wasn’t Mourinho’s version of events though. At the end of the 2006-2007 season, after failing to seriously compete with Manchester United for the title, Mourinho was asked about his future. “There are only two ways for me to leave Chelsea,” he said. “One way is in June 2010 when I finish my contract and if the club doesn’t give me a new one. It is the end of my contract and I am out. The second way is for Chelsea to sack me. The way of the manager leaving the club by deciding to walk away, no chance! I will never do this to Chelsea supporters.”
Mourinho was sacked a few weeks in to the following season though and at the end of that season, with Mourinho still out of work, he confirmed that he didn’t leave by mutual consent, as the club had claimed, rather that he had been sacked.
“I made a mistake not to leave Chelsea at the end of last season,” he said. “I had an offer from one of the greatest clubs in Europe but I preferred to stay in London because I promised the fans that I won’t leave on my own initiative, and four months later I was fired. Now I understand that I probably shouldn’t have missed such an opportunity.”
Speaking as manager of Inter Milan in 2010, he again reiterated this point, and argued he’d done more than enough to keep his job.
“I feel sorry because, when I look at the big four teams while I was in England, [their managers] are all there,” he said. “Sir Alex Ferguson is here. Arsene Wenger is here. Rafa Benitez is here. I did more than enough to be here. But the decision was made.”
When denying Makelele’s stories, Chelsea lied and claimed Mourinho hadn’t been sacked. It’s safe to assume they could also have been lying about Terry’s involvement in Mourinho’s dismissal then. After all, what reason would Makelele have to invent the story?
Have Terry and Mourinho have made up since then? Or is Terry’s opinion just not that important to Abramovich these days?
Chelsea won the Europa League final this evening following an injury time winning head from Branislav Ivanovic, after Benfica had earlier had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside.
John Terry was not in the squad after being ruled out through injury yet still took to the pitch wearing his full kit. The Chelsea captain received plenty of mocking when his team reached the Champions League final in spite of him last season, after he was sent off for brainlessly kneeing an opponent in the semi-finals, but changed in to his Chelsea kit at half-time.
Terry will likely receive plenty more derision, although UEFA rules do state that if a player is going to enter the pitch to lift the trophy they must be wearing a kit.
After putting Chelsea 1-0 up against Liverpool this evening, John Terry left the field on a stretcher following a collision with Luis Suarez. He remained in the dressing room instead of being sent to hospital and was able to bend his knee before leaving the pitch.
– It’s not just “highly unlikely” that Ferdinand accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt”, but that he did not, because in the brief time that it took Ferdinand to advance up the pitch towards Terry, why would the focus of Ferdinand’s abuse and insults of Terry have changed so quickly from an allegation of an affair, to one involving skin colour, or race.
– Terry and Cole did not hear, and could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Ferdinand to have used the word “black”, or any word(s) that might have suggested that he was accusing Terry of racially abusing him.
– There is no credible basis for Terry’s defence that his use of the words “fucking black cunt” were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry. Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.
Reasons for commission conclusion
Unnatural verbal response to supposed accusation
– As the Chief Magistrate observed, the words “fucking black cunt” were sandwiched between two admitted insults. Those words were preceded by “fuck off, fuck off”, and followed by “fucking knobhead”. It seems inherently unlikely that if he had been accused by Ferdinand of calling him something that ended with the words “black cunt”, that Terry would have added the word “fucking” when he threw the words back, if he was genuinely doing so by way of forceful denial. It is also inherently improbable, that a denial of such a serious allegation would then be followed by an insulting sexual reference directed at Ferdinand (i.e. “fucking knobhead”).
– His repetition of words that Terry claims were said to him first by Ferdinand is implausible if they were really intended to be a robust denial. A much more likely reaction would have been “I didn’t call you a black cunt”, or at least to have prefaced the words “fucking black cunt” with “are you saying that I called you?”, or something similar. Instead, the words “black cunt” are simply repeated on Terry’s case, with the word “fucking” added at the beginning, and a question-mark at the end to be inferred. A much more plausible and likely explanation is that Terry was angry at Ferdinand’s taunting and provocation of him, at the way the match had gone, and at the way in which it seemed likely to end. The much more likely explanation for what he said is that all of this provoked him into saying “fucking black cunt” as an insult, which is consistent with the fact that insults preceded and followed those words.
Unnatural physical response to supposed accusation
– In the critical phase, during which he uses the words “fucking black cunt”, Terry can be seen to be smiling initially, before his facial expression changes to disdainful and contemptuous. At no point is his demeanour and facial expression that of someone who is imploring, injured, or even quizzical in the face of an unfounded allegation by Ferdinand that Terry had just been racially abusive towards Ferdinand. This was an allegation, apparently, that had never previously been levelled at Terry. Anger is a conceivable reaction to such an accusation, but at no time does Terry convey any sense of “No, I didn’t” with his facial expression, or body language.
– Terry’s anger manifested itself again in what remained of the match. A few minutes later he had an altercation with the QPR goalkeeper, Paddy Kenney during which Terry said: “You fucking cunt, you fucking cheeky cunt”. Those words were accompanied by gestures from Terry, namely puffing out his cheeks out and putting his arms out. This was a reference to another physical characteristic, namely to suggest that Kenney was overweight.
Unnatural post-match response to supposed accusation
– Terry made no attempt to confront Ferdinand when the game ended. Instead, he went to acknowledge the support of the Chelsea fans. If he genuinely believed that he had been the victim of an unjustified accusation of the serious type alleged, it is very surprising that Terry left it for approximately an hour after the match before he requested a meeting with Ferdinand. The Commission cannot speculate as to what may have transpired during that hour or so, apart from the likely realisation on Terry’s part that what he said may well have been caught on camera and be a source of trouble for him. When they did speak after the game, Ferdinand’s unchallenged evidence is that the first thing Terry said to him was “What happened?” This is telling. Without first speaking to Ferdinand, and asking that question, Terry could not have known what Ferdinand heard or knew, and whether he intended to pursue matters further.
New evidence which allowed FA to pursue case after verdict in court and therefore not a contradiction of paragraph 6.8 of FA rules
1. Terry’s untruthful account about his sending off against Barcelona
On 24th April 2012, Terry was sent off during the second leg of the European Champions League semi-final match between Barcelona and Chelsea. Film footage of the match clearly shows that he deliberately ‘kneed’ a Barcelona player, Alexis Sanchez, in the back of his legs when play was elsewhere. The FA rely on comments that Terry is said to have made immediately after he left the field of play, but which he subsequently had to retract. According to a Guardian newspaper report of the same date, Terry told a touchline reporter: “The player checked his run and piled into the back of me. He put his weight on the back foot, that’s why my knee went up.”
Following the match, after viewing video replays of the incident, Terry is reported to have made the following statement:
“I’ve seen the replay and it does look bad. I’m not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone. I’ve raised my knee which I maybe shouldn’t have done in hindsight. But hopefully people who know me as a person, as a player [know] I’m not that type of player. …”
This shows that the incident involving Ferdinand is not the only time that Terry has been untruthful about what happened on a football pitch.
This incident undermines those of Terry’s character witnesses who suggest that he has preternatural reserves of self-control. His actions in a crucial Champions League semi-final show that he is capable of losing his self-control. It was also a significant lapse of judgment for a player and captain which his post-match statement recognises. Those are matters that are relevant to our overall assessment of his disposition, demeanour and conduct during the critical phase of the match against QPR.
2. Cole’s change in testimony
Ashley Cole‟s evidence has evolved and that the word “black” was introduced retrospectively into the witness statement that he provided to the FA, with a view to bolstering Terry’s claim that the words that Terry spoke to Ferdinand were not said by way of an insult, but as repetition and forceful denial of what Ferdinand had accused him of saying. The FA pointed to an exchange of e-mails that took place between the FA and Chelsea’s Club Secretary, David Barnard, in which requests were made, on behalf of Cole, to amend his witness statements.
The Commission’s view of this new evidence is that it casts considerable doubt over Cole’s claim that he heard, or could have heard, Ferdinand use the word “black” when the latter insulted Terry with words and gestures. The new evidence undermines Cole’s corroboration for Terry’s claim that when he used the words “fucking black cunt”, he did so by way of forceful rejection/inquiry.
On October 28th (five days after the match), Cole was interviewed by the FA. Both Jenni Kennedy (Head of FA Off-Field Regulation) and Adam Sanhaie (her colleague) made handwritten notes of the interview of Cole.
In Kennedy’s notes: Definitely a “B” word – could have been “Bridge”? but I don’t know for sure.
In Sanhaie’s notes: Saw gesture heard “b” word said, but not sure what saying. AF was making gesture re having sex. The gesture was aimed at JT. Think ref was to JT activities – heard “B” word but not sure what the word was. Def “B” word. At same time as made gesture.
The first draft of Cole’s witness statement was sent to Cole by e-mail on November 2nd. The following day, Chelsea’s club secretary, Dave Bernand, replied to this e-mail saying: He wishes to add the words “Black or” before the word “Bridge”.
Kennedy gave oral evidence to the Commission. She was adamant that if the word “black” had been said she would have noted it. Having regard to the context of the interview, it would be very surprising if she had not, and even more surprising if her colleague had also failed to do so.
The Chief Magistrate did not have the interview notes of the FA’s Interviewers and they do not appear in his judgment. Accordingly, that material can and should properly be regarded as cogent new evidence. Had it been before him, the Commission has no doubt that the Chief Magistrate would have examined Cole’s evidence as to what he claims he heard Ferdinand say to Terry on the pitch very carefully indeed, or scrutinised it even more closely than he may have done. Like the Commission, the issues that have arisen would have informed his view as to whether Cole’s evidence was capable of providing reliable corroboration for Terry’s case. On the evidence before us, the Commission has considerable doubts in that regard.
Cole and Terry supported Ferdinand’s claim that he made reference to Terry’s affair with Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. Cole supports the claim that Ferdinand made a sexual gesture and a “B” word and suggested that the “B” word was Bridge. This is a logical explanation of what Ferdinand was saying.
It is not logical or believable that Ferdinand, whilst making a sexual gesture, would be making an accusation of racial abuse. It is not logical or believable that Terry would presume that in the midst of a conversation about Bridge that Ferdinand suddenly made an accusation of racial abuse.
If Terry genuinely believed that Ferdinand made this accusation, it is not logical that Terry would respond to this accusation with a stream of insults and swear words, and not question Ferdinand for saying this or, more importantly, deny the accusation.
Terry’s defence hinged on his claim that he thought Ferdinand had accused him of calling him a “black cunt”. When Kennedy and Sanhaie interviewed Cole, any reference to the word “black” certainly would have been noted. This is a case about racial abuse so any mention of race would have stood out. Given the context, to suggest that one person missed Cole saying the word “black” is fairly ridiculous, considering how important that word is in this case, but to suggest that two people did is ludicrous. You would have to presume that Cole does not believe Terry is a racist and maybe he even believes Terry’s versions of events, but it is clear that he changed his testimony under the advice of Terry or the club, as a way to strengthen Terry’s defence. If Cole thought it was possible that Ferdinand mouthed the words “black” in Terry’s direction, he would have made this clear in his interview. It doesn’t make sense that Cole would have forgotten that he saw this and it doesn’t make sense that if he did mention it, that both Kennedy and Sanhaie didn’t hear it. His petulant outburst on Twitter fools no one. It’s important to note that, even if this story change had been mentioned in court, the verdict would have been no difference. The only thing this revelation has an impact on is Cole’s reputation.
The chief magistrate deemed that Terry was not guilty because nobody could prove he was lying. That is the way the legal system works and it obviously has to work in that way. Whilst evidence can point you to certain conclusions and those conclusions could be correct 99% of the time, when there is any room for error it clearly would be wrong to convict people without that conclusive evidence.
However, Terry’s story doesn’t make sense and no one in their right mind can accept his version as truth. Several people were drafted in to court to claim that Terry has an incredible amount of self-restraint, that he never reacts to provocation, making it impossible for Terry to have lost his cool and snapped at Loftus Road, despite the fact he received a red card for doing exactly that just a couple of months earlier. His immediate reaction was to lie about what happened on the pitch, until he saw the conclusive video footage which showed he was lying. In the case with Ferdinand, the footage wasn’t conclusive, which is why he was found not guilty, but it should be clear to all that this case falls in the 99% bracket, not the 1%, because of the preposterous nature of Terry’s defence. His explanation for saying the words “black cunt” quite simply doesn’t make any sense, which is why it was easy for the commission to deem him guilty.
Terry called Ferdinand a “black cunt” because he was angry and it was the first insult that came to mind, just like he was angry with Kenny and his weight was the first insult that came to mind. This is the obvious conclusion to be drawn from all the evidence available to the commission.
Some things are more important than football and any Chelsea fan trying to convince themselves that Terry, Cole and their club haven’t behaved badly here should be ashamed of themselves. If Joey Barton replaced Terry and Cole replaced Ferdinand in this scenario, I wonder how many of them would have the same opinions. Likely, none of them. Football is tribal, no doubt, but people need to see the bigger picture on some issues. The fact that Terry and Cole’s names were loudly sung from the stands at Stamford Bridge this weekend suggests that Chelsea fans have no intention of removing their heads from the sand though, and they join the players and the club in showing themselves up.
Rio Ferdinand was left out of England’s Euro 2012 squad for “footballing reasons” according to Roy Hodgson, although it is widely accepted that the England manager preferred John Terry and the two couldn’t be in the same squad following the Chelsea captain shouting “black cunt” at Rio’s brother. The fact Martin Kelly, who had struggled to get in the starting XI of the 8th best team in the country, got the nod ahead of Rio when injuries struck the squad, made Hodgson’s excuses about “footballing reasons” appear ridiculous.
Terry went to the Euros, although the FA decided to strip him of the captaincy. In hindsight, this was a good decision, given that the FA have since ruled that Terry did racially abuse Anton last season. The damage it would have done England’s reputation to have a captain who has been deemed guilty of racial abuse would have been huge. You could even argue that his inclusion in the squad at all hasn’t painted England in the best light.
In court, the chief magistrate concluded that Terry’s version of events was “unlikely” and that the not guilty verdict was given because “nobody could prove Mr Terry was lying“. The FA rule on a basis of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt, and their conclusion was he was guilty of the offence.
If Hodgson had his way, he would have likely chosen Terry as his captain, but unlike Fabio Capello, he wasn’t willing to use this disagreement as a way out of the job. Instead, he chose Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, who went on to have a very good tournament for England. With Frank Lampard forced out of the Euros through injury, Hodgson picked Scott Parker to play alongside Gerrard in midfield throughout the tournament.
Terry was picked for all England’s games following Euro 2012 but he still chose to retire, bizarrely claiming that the FA had made his position “untenable” by persuing the charge against him. The fact that the FA had allowed Terry to represent England in the Euros, despite having a criminal charge hanging over him, made a mockery of Terry’s excuse. Essentially, he knew he was going to be found guilty by the FA and his ego couldn’t bear the thought of being kicked out of the squad, so he jumped before he was pushed. It might have been a bit hasty on his part though, considering Hodgson would have still wanted to pick him anyway, claiming that he “reluctantly” accepted Terry’s decision.
Since Terry’s retirement, discussion has been on-going as to who should replace him in England’s defence. There have been some calls for Gary Cahill to take up the spot, although he only gets a game for Chelsea when Terry or David Luiz are unavailable. Phil Jagielka is probably nothing more than a squad player but will still throw his hat in to the ring. Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and Phil Jones might be earmarked for the future. Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott is probably the strongest contender for the spot though.
Reports have emerged this morning claiming that whoever Hodgson uses at Terry’s replacement though, it won’t be Rio Ferdinand. Hodgson told fans on the tube that Rio’s England career had reached “the end of the road”. The player who was chosen as captain for England’s last World Cup two summers ago, is no longer in contention. “I have to say it is over for him and England,” Hodgson reportedly said. “He is pushing 34 and hasn’t played for England for a long, long time.”
Whilst Rio is still first choice for Manchester United, it’s hard to see why Hodgson would think his age prevents him even being an option for England, particularly when you consider Hodgson’s other team selections.
Lampard, Hodgson’s choice for vice captain, is 34-years-old, Gerrard is 32, Scott Parker turns 32 next week, Ashley Cole turns 32 this year and Gareth Barry turns 32 in four months time.
Hogson was found out as being disingenuous when blaming Rio’s exclusion on “footballing reasons” and now to claim that Rio is too old for England, when Hodgson’s chosen vice captain is older than him, is ridiculous.
Why Hodgson seems to hold a grudge against Rio is unknown, although even now Terry has gone, Ashley Cole remains in the squad, so there would certainly be friction if Rio was called up again. The Manchester United defender laughed at someone on Twitter referring to Cole as a “choc ice”, implying that he had betrayed his race in supporting Terry’s “unlikely” version of events in court, suggesting there is animosity between the two now.
Just as Hodgson didn’t want to admit that Terry’s racial abuse of Anton is what really kept Rio out of the squad, he is strill struggling to be straight about the real reasons behind Rio’s omission.
John Terry is a more interesting and complex man than most of us think. Here is a man who – to many – embodies everything wrong with the modern footballer. The view is he is grossly overpaid, egotistical, he is a thug, he is rapacious, he is a cheat, a liar, a man-child. He believes the world, the sun and the stars revolve around him. The ultimate proof? His resignation from the England team hours before his disciplinary hearing started. How arrogant? Who does he think he is?
On the other hand, here is a footballer who a series of managers have built their empires around. Indeed, here is a man who many of the most respected managers in the game have consistently staked their reputation upon even when the rest of the world looks on aghast.
For all his troubles in the past – the ”affair” with Veronica Perroncel (an affair both have always denied and which, I believe, the various newspapers have published some level of retraction); his post 9/11 behaviour; his parking in a disabled bay; his not guilty after being charged with assault and affray; charging for private tours around Chelsea’s training ground; touting his FA box at Wembley – he has managed to walk on smiling and picking up the occasional trophy. He has generally been cheered on by adoring fans and supported by managers like Capello, Mourinho, Grant and Ancelotti.
The latest matter of controversy is the biggest and the one that won’t go away. It might be the thing we remember him for – like Baggio’s penalty, like Zidane’s headbutt. He has been found guilty of racial abuse by the FA. Those who hate him have their moment in the sun. What makes matters slightly more confusing for many is that a court of law has recently acquitted him.
So, what is what?
A lot of utter rot has been spoken about Terry’s trial. Many people who should know better (Krishnan Guru-Murthy, I’m looking at you) have talked bilge. Terry has consistently plugged the ”I was found not guilty in a court of law” line as if to pour scorn on any potential FA finding. Other people talk about ”contradictory verdicts”. This is nonsense. There is no contradiction between the verdicts because the FA and the court applied different standards of proof.
The criminal standard still uses the ”beyond reasonable doubt”. The Judicial Studies Board says that juries might be assisted by being told to convict on this standard they must be persuaded ”so that you are sure”.
The Civil standard – and the one used in the FA hearing – is ”the balance of probabilities”. If you want to sum this standard up you may say this is ”more likely than not”.
You don’t need to be a lawyer to see there is a difference between those two standards.
Indeed, Mr Terry gives us a perfect example to show the difference. Imagine Terry is alleged to attack a bouncer. It is perfectly possible he would be found not guilty because of ”reasonable doubt”. The bouncer, however, could successfully sue in tort for assault because the standard there is ”more likely than not”. (Ed: When I wrote this I had hoped to quote a Twitterer who originally used similar – though not exactly the same – analogy. I’m glad having researched it that it was Love And Garbage – I’d absolutely recommend following him).
This isn’t always and forever about football. Consider Ian Tomlinson, the man who died after an incident during the G20 demonstrations. PC Simon Harwood was cleared of manslaughter in July but was sacked for gross misconduct in September. Harwood was acquitted beyond reasonable doubt. When faced with the balance of probabilities at a police disciplinary procedure, he was found guilty and sacked. Racism is football is very serious. It is not as serious as the death of an innocent man at the hands of an officer of the state and I do not wish to claim it is. I hope, however, you see the point that what people seem to believe has only ever happened to Terry is relatively commonplace.
Moreover, it is clear Terry’s successful defence in the criminal proceedings (i.e. admitting that he did say the words alleged but was repeating those words) meant proof on the civil standard (i.e. the FA hearing) was almost inevitable.
But what about Luis Suarez?
It is always troubling when people complain about the disparity of sentences handed out. Cases are very rarely the same and, therefore, comparing Suarez’s sentence with Terry’s is always doomed to failure (and as the Terry report hasn’t been released it is difficult to comment either way).
David Davies said the Suarez case was ”the most complex they’ve (the FA) ever heard”. Even so, it is perfectly plausible that they believed Suarez’s behaviour was worse than Terry’s. Hence the difference in sentencing. Indeed, what we do know so far is that the FA seem to be of the opinion that (a) ever referring to someone’s colour or ethnicity is problematic – even if it is repeating the words (b) the number of times an individual says a certain word or words. To use a criminal example: sentences for assault differ from case to case because we acknowledge that some assaults are worse than others.
Suarez clearly is important here though. The FA could very easily have said that they didn’t want to put Terry in front of a discipline hearing. That they would accept the word of the court. The problem for them was that Luis Suarez had, earlier in the year, had a lengthy and very public ban and had been held to the standard of balance of probabilities. Liverpool fans, and many others, were unlikely to let this lie and the FA had to be, and seen to be, consistent. The FA had to act – and, admittedly, not just because of Luis Suarez. It is highly possible that had Suarez found himself in a court of law that he too would have been found not guilty.
What is the Football Association?
It is the governing body of English football. It is responsible for all aspects of the game at the amateur and professional levels. It has a responsibility to look into such matters and has a responsibility to investigate allegations of racist abuse.
Last year, a player in its league was accused of racially abusing a fellow player. It just so happened that the player accused was the captain of the England football team. Do people really think that the governing body of the game shouldn’t consider this matter – even if a magistrate has already considered it? Imagine, for instance, a doctor who was up in court on a criminal charge and found not guilty. Would we expect the General Medical Council not to even consider it? For the FA not to act would have sent out a terrible message and would have been negligent in the extreme.
One pertinent – and associated – question is why the England manager was allowed to pick John Terry for the Euros this summer? When John Terry was awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a bouncer he was not allowed to be selected for England duty. I believe that other players who have found themselves in that situation have not been selected (although cannot recall if Gerrard was called up whilst awaiting trial). If Terry wasn’t allowed to be selected all those years ago, why was he allowed to be selected this summer? Was there a policy change on this matter? If so, when? Or was it simple expediency?
We await the publication of the report from the FA Independent Panel. We await to see whether Terry will appeal (I cannot see how he cannot appeal given the tenor and tone of his ). For what it is worth, I do not believe John Terry is a racist. Yes, there are the rumours about him abusing Ledley King (although I have never been able to find any substantive evidence so we must – absolutely must -assume his innocence) and there is this case which is not quite as simple as many are making it. It is one of life’s sadnesses that sometimes people who aren’t racists say racist things and sometimes racists keep their mouths shut. For many, however, this will be the way that they can crucify a person – and a player – they never liked.
That isn’t to say I hold any great affection for him. I don’t think I’d particularly like him. I don’t want to go to the pub with him. I doubt we have much in common bar, I suppose, an affection for dressing up in football kit whilst others are winning trophies. Whether I like, or feel I would like, the man is utterly irrelevant.
The Prism of Bias
The issue, of course, is that football doesn’t do subtlety and it rarely does understanding nuance. Every decision is viewed through the prism of bias and scrutinised endlessly.
Liverpool fans point to Suarez and say that he was unfairly treated compared to Terry. Manchester United fans point to Rio Ferdinand and say that he got a massively lengthy ban for missing a drugs test (which, I believe, he subsequently passed). They too will point out that the FA lobbied, recently, for Rooney to have a disciplinary action reduced because it benefited the England team. Chelsea fans point at Terry and say he has just been acquitted in a court of law – isn’t that enough. All will believe they are right. All will find justifications to make their case and find conspiracy theories against them.
We hear, from all sides, half-truths, interpretation or misdirection. We compare two cases that aren’t similar and decide that they add up to conspiracy. We should remember that no two cases are the same and we should rush from the temptation to simplify the complex and rush even further from the temptation to look through our tinted spectacles.
I’ve written before that Joe Cole and Michael Owen are the interesting ones of the golden generation but maybe John Terry really is. Most fans outwith Stamford Bridge view him as utterly repugnant. The fans within it see him as a captain, leader, legend. Many shake their heads as seasoned managers fawn… but we don’t ask why they do? What do some of the greatest managers in the game see in this man?
John Terry was today found guilty of “using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3” and banned for four games as well as handed a £220,000 fine.
The outcome of this case had been easily predicted since the Chief Magistrate’s summing up during the summer’s court case when Terry was found not guilty. It was deemed that Terry’s version of events were “unlikely” as the insult, ‘black cunt’, was “sandwiched between other undoubted insults”.
In the summing up for the prosecution, they reminded the chief magistrate that in his first interview with the FA, Terry claimed he said “you black cunt, you fucking knob head.” This story later changed to him repeating what Ferdinand said as a question (or sarcastically) as “a black cunt? You fucking knob head.”
Terry retired from International football this week, claiming the FA had made his position “untenable”. It was a strange accusation, considering the FA allowed him to go to Euro 2012 with a criminal case hanging over him, and the fact that Terry still opted to play for England after the charge. It appeared as though his decision followed the realisation that he was going to be found guilty.
It was an Independent Regulatory Commission that found Terry guilty though and he will miss Chelsea’s next four games against Arsenal, Norwich, Tottenham and Manchester United. If he appeals the decision, he would be available for some of these although would run the risk of extending his ban.
However, the decision to ban Terry for four games has left people wondering what was different with this case to that of Luis Suarez, who was banned for eight games on the same charge.
Suarez was deemed to have called Evra a “negro” several times, in comparison to Terry, who just said “black cunt” once. The FA explained Suarez’s longer ban at the time. “Given the number of times that Mr Suarez used the word ‘negro’, his conduct is significantly more serious than a one-off use of a racially offensive term and amounts to an aggravating factor.”
Suarez was only fined £40,000 though, in comparison to Terry’s £220,000.
John Terry retired from International football this week after claiming the FA had made his position in the squad “untenable”.
This is a huge turnaround from the statement he made less than five months ago, claiming that nothing would convince him to make the decision to stop playing for his country.
“I’m not going to throw away my international career for anyone, I am proud to represent my country, I will never turn my back on England,” he said. “I was baffled by these rumours about me quitting. I even had players coming up saying they heard I was going to quit. But I never considered quitting.”
Terry had to be confident that he was going to be found not guilty when he went to court, given how limited the evidence against him was, so thoughts of quitting the England team were far from his mind. Whatever people’s opinion on what happened at Loftus Road that day, nobody could seriously claim that he could have been found guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” with anything the prosecution had on him.
The most damning evidence probably came from the lip-readers and even then it was something or nothing. In their opinion, which was deemed to be “educated guesswork”, Terry said “you fucking black cunt”, which would negate his claim that he was repeating back what he heard Anton Ferdinand say to him, as “a fucking black cunt?”. Still, there was no way anyone could be found guilty of a crime on such minimal evidence.
However, in the summing up from the chief magistrate, there were some fairly critical statements that left questions hanging over Terry’s innocence. He claimed it was “inherently unlikely” that Ferdinand accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt” which is what Terry’s defence hung upon. He also said that Terry’s explanation of why he uttered the words “black cunt” is “unlikely” as “it is sandwiched between other undoubted insults.”
Terry’s decision to quit suggests he had previously thought the FA would let this one go, but there is no way they could be taken seriously again if they didn’t pursue this matter with an investigation of their own, after the summary from court seemed to suggest that “not proven”, the name given to this verdict in Scotland, was more fitting than “not guilty”.
The laws of football and the laws of this country can obviously not work in the same way. If they did, both Jonjo Shelvey and Jonny Evans could have been charged for ABH on Sunday and the FA would struggle to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that a player intended to stop a goal-bound shot with their hand, or the difference between assertive play (no intent to harm) and dangerous play. The FA has to rule based on probability because the vast majority of the cases are judgement calls without any great deal of evidence to consider. When a player is banned for three or more games because of a nasty tackle, decisions over the length of the ban will be made based on their opinion of the potential danger of a challenge and the intent behind it. They will decide when a natural protest to a sending off decision oversteps the mark and warrants an extended ban. They make judgement calls on where the line is drawn between an accidental swing of the arm when jumping for the ball or an intentional elbow.
The FA, you would presume, therefore have no choice but to apply the same rules to Terry’s case, just as they did Luis Suarez. No court would have been able to prove the motivation of Suarez was not just a cultural misunderstanding either and he would have been found “not guilty” too. The stakes are higher, being tarnished a racist for the rest of your career, but the FA can’t change their own rules, can they?
Paragraph 6.8: ‘Where the subject matter of a complaint or matter before the Regulatory Commission has been the subject of previous civil or criminal proceedings, the result of such proceedings and the facts and matters upon which such result is based shall be presumed to be correct and the facts presumed to be true unless it is shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that this is not the case.’
Terry’s defence reminded the FA of their own rule, believing this would be enough to have the case thrown out, however it is likely that Terry’s confession of directing the words “black cunt” at Ferdinand, despite his explanation of context, has forced the FA to act.
The FA might also point to an interview that Terry gave them immediately after the incident. Terry was asked ‘can you remember what you said to him?’ and he replied ‘I think it was something along the lines of ‘you black cunt, you fucking knobhead.’ In an interview with The Daily Mail, Terry changed his story, claiming he said ‘Do you think I called you a fucking black cunt?’ which was his version of events for court too. ‘You black cunt, you fucking knobhead’ is neither sarcastic nor repeating what Ferdinand said as a question, as was the defence in court.
Other convincing evidence might be the fact that contrary to Ashley Cole’s statement, there is signal in the Loftus Road dressing rooms, as confirmed by QPR. Cole and Terry claimed that they went to speak to Ferdinand after the game because of the accusations that were made on the pitch, but Ferdinand claimed he didn’t accuse Terry of anything on the pitch and only heard about the “black cunt” remark after the game. The reason why the lack of signal was relevant is because the prosecution claimed that the reason why the Chelsea players went to the home dressing room after the game was because they had been told that Terry’s verbal abuse had been caught on camera and was spreading around the internet like wildfire.
These two pieces of evidence could warrant the FA looking at the case again, therefore complying by their own rules.
So, with the rulebook being thrown back at him, Terry is obviously jumping before he is pushed, with it looking as though the FA will almost certainly ban the former England captain. His decision to play the victim, insisting the decision is down to the FA’s behaviour, is one that has come under criticism from some sections of the press.
Daniel Taylor, The Guardian, writes: Terry’s argument is a tenuous one, undeserving of sympathy and badly undermined by the fact the FA has a duty, surely, to convene its own inquiry when a Premier League footballer – at the time the England captain, no less – is accused of calling an opponent a “fucking black cunt”. Terry denies the charge and his grievance seems to boil down to one thing: that the FA wants to make sure there was no wrongdoing within its own rules, rather than just letting it pass and doing, well, what would be best for him.
Terry, in short, has no right to depict himself as being victimised when the FA has actually been pretty good to him given the seriousness of the allegations. Previous England managers were not allowed to pick players who were facing criminal charges but the current FA regime never enforced that rule with Roy Hodgson. Terry played in Euro 2012 and the FA relieved him of media duties.
If Terry is saying that the FA should just have moved on to the next subject and ignored a case in which Kick It Out is firmly aligned to the Ferdinands, then the Chelsea captain sorely misses the point.
Henry Winter, The Telegraph, writes: John Terry claimed on Sunday night that the Football Association had made his position in the England squad “untenable”. Nonsense. Terry was the author of his own downfall. Too many scrapes, too many embarrassments. John Terry rang the division bell too often in the England dressing room. If he was chasing the sympathy vote by yesterday’s swipe at the FA, Terry is unlikely to have swung the debate his way.
His “untenable” critique does not ring true. He continued to be picked by England managers during his troubled times, first by Fabio Capello and then by Roy Hodgson. Hodgson backed him strongly, a tactic that looks even more questionable now that Terry has walked away.
Terry’s inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad came at the expense of Rio Ferdinand’s involvement. Nobody fully believed Hodgson’s claim that Ferdinand was omitted “for footballing reasons”. It was to do with the dressing-room dynamic, with the tension between the pair following Terry’s dispute with Ferdinand’s brother Anton. Hodgson invited a man with significant character flaws to the party in Poland and Ukraine.
There is roughly a 0.5% chance of Terry not facing punishment but the fact he has given up playing for England suggests he knows he will join the 99.5% of players who the FA charge and then convict.
Former England captain, John Terry, has today announced his retirement from International football, blaming the FA for his decision.
“I feel The FA have made my position with the national team untenable,” he said. “Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all & it breaks my heart to make this decision. I wish Roy and the team every success for the future.”
Terry has been charged with using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour” with “reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand” after camera footage from Chelsea’s game against QPR last season appeared to show him call Anton Ferdinand a “black cunt”.
Whilst Terry was found not guilty in court after a trial couldn’t prove that he directed these words at Ferdinand as an insult, rather than as a question or sarcastically as his defence claimed, the FA’s criteria for conviction isn’t as stringent, with them ruling on “the balance of probability”.
The chief magistrate’s summary of the court case was fairly damning for the Chelsea captain though, with him conceding that “nobody has been able to show that he is lying.” He also claimed it is “inherently unlikely that” Ferdinand accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt”, which is what Terry’s defence rested on and said that “Mr Terry’s explanation is unlikely. It is sandwiched between other undoubted insults.”
On the “balance of probability”, Terry should be found guilty, which would likely spell the end of his England career anyway, so the Chelsea man is jumping before he is pushed. As Daniel Taylor recently reported in The Guardian, the FA generally only take on cases they’re almost certain of winning.
The FA, to put it into context, found a total of two not-guilty verdicts out of the 473 cases it heard in 2011. That is getting on for a one-in-250 ratio. Or 0.4%, to be precise. Which is markedly different to the Home Office figures for court cases, with one magistrates’ hearing out of every six leading to non-conviction (16.7%), and marginally higher (18.2%) at crown court.
Terry will use his personal hearing with the FA tomorrow to again deny the charge though.
Whilst it is probably unlikely that the FA will act against John Terry after the verdict today, it is certainly possible. To be convicted of a criminal offence, you have to appear guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”. As it cannot be proven that Terry didn’t think he heard Anton accuse him of calling him a “black cunt” and as it cannot be proven that Terry wasn’t merely repeating this accusation back to him, he cannot be found guilty. “Nobody has been able to show that he is lying.” That is the crucial part of the summary of this case. Whatever your personal opinion may be, with the evidence provided, the judgement today is the right one.
However, as Luis Suarez found earlier this year, the FA rule on “the balance of probability”, which is a lower standard than the criminal standard.
The chief magistrate summarised the findings of the trial before giving his “not guilty” verdict. In Scotland, they would refer to this as “not proven”, which some may argue would be appropriate to this case.
– The defence argue John Terry was merely repeating back what Anton Ferdinand said to him. Terry argues he heard Ferdinand accusing him of calling Ferdinand a “black cunt”. Defence also suggest that Terry could have misheard “Bridge” as “black”.
– The defence painted Ferdinand as an unreliable witness.
– Lip-reading is not a science.
– There’s no direct evidence from any witness as to what Terry actually said or how he said it apart from Terry himself.
– Ashley Cole’s evidence supports Terry’s claim that Ferdinand said “black”
– Several character witnesses support defence’s argument that Terry has endured abuse on and off the football pitch for years but has never snapped and remains calm.
– Defence argue that there is a “danger” in trying to interpret body language (in response to argument that Terry doesn’t look “surprised” by what Ferdinand said, but “hostile”).
– Terry claimed he was aware there were cameras on him so if he wanted to racially abuse someone he would whisper it in their ear.
– Terry plays for a football club with players of different races from around the world and as captain, it is his role to integrate them in to the club. He has worked with Didier Drogba and Marcel Desailly’s charities that help Africa.
Why Terry will be found guilty
– Ferdinand says he did not accuse Terry of a racial slur on the pitch. How could Terry be repeating “black cunt” if Ferdinand never said it?
– The prosecution argue that Ferdinand doesn’t have the sophistication or motivation to invent a false accusation.
– The lip-reading experts gave the opinion that Terry said “you fucking black cunt (pause) you fucking knobhead” which is not a question, or repetition, but an insult.
– Terry used the word “you” in his first statement about what he said to Ferdinand. “You black cunt.” This then changed to “a fucking black cunt?”.
– The prosecution argue that if Terry was merely repeating back what Ferdinand said, why did he add an extra “fucking” in to what he said?
– The prosecution argue that Terry was using what he perceived as a vulnerability to insult Ferdinand in response to Ferdinand insulting him about “shagging his mate’s missus”. In the same game, Terry called QPR goalkeeper a “fat cunt” so used the first description of Ferdinand that came to mind when calling him a “black cunt”.
– Prosecution argue that in the video footage Terry doesn’t look “surprised” when he is responding to Ferdinand but “hostile”. In response to the defence claiming there is a “danger” in trying to interpret body language, the judge said: “But we do it all the time.”
– Cole was 25 yards away when he claims to see Ferdinand say “black”. If the defence want evidence from lip-reading experts who’ve had the benefit of video replay to be discounted, how can Cole’s evidence taken from a football game be relied upon?
– Prosecution agree that Terry is not guilty of being a racist but is guilty of making a racist remark.
Today started with the closing arguments from the defence and prosecution, with the prosecution arguing that Terry is no stranger from using physical attributes as a means of verbally abusing someone, whilst the defence argued Ferdinand was an unreliable witness and Terry could have easily misheard what Ferdinand said to him initially.
“It is unlikely in heat of the moment Mr Ferdinand would’ve had sophistication or motivation to make the allegation,” said the prosecution at the start of the day. They Chief Magistrate to consider Terry’s demeanour when crucial exchange took place with Ferdinand. They question whether it was surprise, like Terry had claimed, or “hostility”.
The day started with Anton Ferdinand’s parents finding Terry supporters in the seats they had been sitting in on Monday and Tuesday. The Terry supporters refused to move and the Ferdinands complained to the officials.
Duncan Penny, the Crown prosecution, suggested there was a discrepancy between what Terry told the FA about incident in October and his version of events now. He highlighted fact that Terry told FA he didn’t hear what Ferdinand was saying when he made ‘fist gesture’, but now he says that he did.
Then, after showing slow motion footage of the incident, which just focusses on Terry, Penny argues Terry was not repeating what Ferdinand had said, as he claimed yesterday, but was insulting him.