Chelsea were strongly criticised yesterday for refusing to publicise their punishment of John Terry. The club confirmed that it had taken "confidential" action against their captain, who decided not to appeal against his Football Association fine and suspension using racist language against Queen's Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand. Nearly one year after the incident, Terry apologised for his words.
How Chelsea have sanctioned Terry, beyond his four-match ban and £220,000 fine from the FA was unclear yesterday. Lord Ouseley, the chairman of anti-racism body Kick It Out, claimed that for such a public figure and public offence, Chelsea should reveal their decision if they want to regain some of the credibility lost in the fallout from the affair.
"I believe Chelsea need to be open about the action they have taken," Lord Ouseley said. "A lot of people will be dissatisfied that Chelsea have not been much more up front about the standards they set and the values they have."
"If they are not prepared to say, it will further damage the trust of those people who still have suspicions about Chelsea's sincerity in dealing with this matter. I do welcome what they have said, but they need to be saying more and doing more if they are going to win back the confidence of people who have lost trust in them."
Yesterday's decision by Terry marked an ending of sorts for a case which began a year ago this weekend when he clashed with Ferdinand during a Premier League game at Loftus Road. The Chelsea captain, "after careful consideration", chose not to contest the FA independent regulatory commission's decision and said sorry for his language. "I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queen's Park Rangers last October," said Terry.
"Although I'm disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life."
Chelsea always said they would not act until Terry had made a final decision on an appeal, and yesterday the club announced they had punished him. "John Terry has made the correct decision by not appealing against the FA judgment," a statement said. "Chelsea also appreciates, and supports, John's full apology for the language he used. The club firmly believes such language is not acceptable and fell below the standards expected of John as a Chelsea player.
"The board has conducted its own investigation into the matter, and considered the various issues involved. The board has taken further disciplinary action in addition to the four-match suspension and £220,000 fine imposed by the FA. In accordance with our long-standing policy, that disciplinary action will remain confidential."
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