We heard from the FA today when they charged John Terry for comments made during the QPR game from last October, and frankly this seems like it's been going on forever at this point. We're not near the end of it though, as charging Terry was simply the first step the FA will have to take in the process of punishing Terry. So what exactly are we in for here? I decided to take the Luis Suarez case from last fall and look more closely at the timeline involved. Here are the important dates from that whole saga:
- Oct. 15 - Suarez and Evra exchanged words during a game. Evra later accused Suarez of racially abusing him.
- Nov. 16 - The FA formally charged Luis Suarez. Like Terry, Suarez denied the charge and requested a hearing.
- Dec. 14 - The FA hearing about the incident in question began.
- Dec. 20 - Luis Suarez was banned for 8 matches and fined £40,000
- Dec. 31 - The official findings from the Luis Suarez decision were released.
- Jan. 3 - Luis Suarez and Liverpool decide not to appeal the ban
Using this as a basic template, We can assume that the FA will set Terry's hearing date for approximately one month from now. I'd guess that this actually pushes into the early portion of September just due to the transfer window closing at the end of August and many within the FA and club having other obligations to deal with.
We know from the criminal trial that there likely won't be as many witnesses as there were in the Suarez case, so I wouldn't expect to see the same seven days of hearings that one had in the fall. If he's punished, I'd imagine we'd again be looking at about ten days before a very lengthy document is published with the findings.
That takes us to about the middle of September at this point, and Terry could well decide to appeal. CAS tends to operate in a much more efficient manner than the FA (imagine that), generally hearing the appeal and releasing a decision in a period of about two weeks from the time of the appeal being filed. Assuming Terry is found guilty and appeals, that decision should be known from late September to early October.
At this point all of this is just speculation based on past instances, but it should give us a fairly rough idea of what to expect going forward. With the schedule playing out the way it does, an eight game domestic ban would see Terry miss most of the months of October and November due to European play and International breaks. Any ban he'd receive would not involve UEFA Champions League games, so any group stage matches in that time would see Terry eligible to participate and maintain some match fitness.
Chelsea really should plan for the worst here, and expect to be without the services of their captain for much of the months of October and November. This means we need to add another right back to the mix, and giving Oriol Romeu some time at center back in training wouldn't be an awful plan either. It does appear that Chelsea will catch a break with the timing of all of this though, as a potential eight match ban would seemingly be coming at a very uncongested point in the schedule. There are some tough games in that span, but as long as Cahill and Luiz stay healthy we should be in pretty good shape. Who knows, he may not end up facing a ban at all? At least it looks like we'll know by Halloween and have this whole affair finished in 2012.