On Friday 13 July ex-England Captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Queen’s Park Rangers’ defender Anton Ferdinand, but the case still remains firmly open.
Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle acquitted Terry of any wrong doing, claiming there was a great deal of evidence to prove John Terry was not a racist. The 31-year-old Chelsea Captain told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he was merely repeating what he thought Ferdinand had said to him as they traded insults during the league game last October.
Terry has always denied the charge, and had described himself as “angry and upset” over the claims.
The Blue’s skipper must now face further questioning on the matter.
Before the Crown prosecution decided to intervene in the case, Terry was subject to an inquiry from The Football Association. An FA statement yesterday read: ‘The FA notes the decision in the John terry case and will now seek to conclude its own enquiries. The FA will make no further comment at this time.’
What next for Terry?
Despite being cleared in a court of law, The FA will now rule judgement on the matter in footballing terms. He can expect charges of bringing the game into disrepute following his actions.
Should The FA investigate further claims of racist abuse, Terry will know exactly what to expect should a different conclusion be made by The National Governing Body, following Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine. If Terry is found guilty, he would miss a substantial part of his club’s start to the season, including fixtures against Arsenal and Tottenham, and QPR at Loftus Road.
It’s unlikely Terry will face a similar length of punishment, but he will fit in the same category as Suarez for his role in damaging the English game.
Terry will also face an uncertain England future. The 31-year-old was one of few highlights from England’s Euro 2012 campaign, but he was recently stripped of the captaincy of his country following the trial. It’s the second time Terry has had the armband stripped of him, and it’s extremely unlikely he will be awarded the honour for a third time. He’ll also face a damaged reputation both in England and abroad.
Anti-racism campaigner Garth Crooks believes it’s only half-time in the case for Terry: “He has not been convicted under the law but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be charged under FA rules. Has he broken any of their rules: ungentlemanly conduct, professional wrongdoing, bringing the game into disrepute? For Terry, this is only half-time, it is not over.”
Terry may also lose considerable sponsorship deals, including England kit manufacturer, Umbro, although it is unlikely following Friday’s verdict.
What next for the English Game?
Following the Suarez-Evra row, the game’s reputation was severely dented. This will not help matters. PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor believes the English game is very much in the spotlight, for the wrong reasons.
These high-profiled incidents are some of a growing number of negatives against the English Premier League. Despite having some of the richest and highest valued clubs, and record Television deals, the Premier League is still falling behind other major European Leagues.
The record levels of debt clubs now have is weakening the selling point to ‘the best league in the world’. Profit making in the Premier League is also considerably less than in Germany for example.
The Terry and Suarez cases are fuelling a petition to degrade the English game.
The FA are expected to consider this week’s verdict before deciding whether to charge Terry, but after admitting his use of extreme sexual swear words and reference to the colour of a player’s skin, Terry is more than likely to face some kind of charge. ‘Kick It Out’ campaigners believe The FA should be approachable by those who are victims of racist abuse.
Crooks also criticised The FA’s handling of the situation: “Their lack of fibre to act instantly threw the entire procedure into chaos.”
The use of highly offensive language is part-and-parcel of the game, you hear in on the terraces from fans of all ages, walking through the streets and parks, but not so often from the players themselves; unless it’s highlighted by the media.
Reducing the impact of this language will be hard, but the publicity this language receives should be regulated. Now Terry has been cleared when he’s admitted using this language, does it set the right role-model for younger generations.
Punishing Terry and potentially Ferdinand for their bust-up will send a message to footballers and football fans, but it will also cause more harm than good.
If you punish these two professional footballers for foul and abusive language, where do you stop? Singling out Terry and Ferdinand will not contain an issue which is so apparent.
The FA can be sure of one thing from this case. Once again their failure to act sharply and efficiently has led them to open a new can of worms that could have been avoided.