John Terry responds to FA guilty verdict

Bethany Clarke - Getty Images

John Terry has released a statement in response to the FA, who found the Chelsea skipper guilty of 'misconduct' over the Anton Ferdinand incident eleven months ago and banned him for four matches:

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.

He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal.

-Source: Sky Sports.

The misconduct label is something of a misnomer, because the full FA statement includes the main offence:

The Football Association charged Mr Terry on Friday 27 July 2012 with 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 contrary to FA Rule E3[2] in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

Had the FA merely found Terry guilty of misconduct, I don't think Terry would have much of a chance at an appeal. But they've found him guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, which is what Terry went to trial for over the summer. The verdict, of course, was not guilty*, and by the FA's own rules there would have to be unambiguous evidence in order to overturn that verdict.

*Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle did, however, state that he found Terry's version of events highly unlikely.

I assume that Terry's lawyers will be poring over the FA's post-mortem and determining whether or not they have any real chance with an appeal -- they might be tempted to take this all the way up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if they really want to push it (which will be difficult because the FA claim that their internal arbitration mechanisms are final and CAS say that a case has to go through every possible internal process before reaching them).

Personally, my stance goes like this: If Terry abused Ferdinand, he should take the fine and suspension on the chin, acknowledge that it happened and push to turn the fight against racism in sport past its current incarnation as a tool used by bickering clubs. If he didn't he should fight any guilty ruling all the way. Since I don't know what happened one way or the other, I have no idea which path should be taken.

Ambiguity makes life fun, right?

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