John Terry blames lack of support by FA for England retirement

'Heart-broken' former captain quits on eve of racial abuse hearing over governing body's 'change of position'

John Terry made last night's shock decision to retire from international football in protest at what he regarded as a change of position by senior members of the Football Association over the likelihood of him being charged by the governing body for alleged racist remarks, it is understood.

Terry, 31, made the surprise announcement that he was retiring from the England team less than 24 hours before his disciplinary hearing is due to begin today, on an FA charge of racially abusing Queen's Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand. He said that the FA had made his "position untenable" by pursuing the case, which is understood to refer to what Terry views as a change of heart from the organisation over the decision to charge him.

Having been cleared of the same allegation in Westminster Magistrates' court on 13 July, Terry believed that he would not stand accused of the same offence by the FA. Yet 14 days' later in July, the governing body charged him with breaking rules E3(1) and E3(2) of their code, the same offence for which Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was found guilty last year.

Terry, who won the last of his 78 caps for England against Moldova this month, said in a statement last night that it "breaks my heart" to have to make the decision. He said: "I am making this statement in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable."

It is understood Terry called Roy Hodgson yesterday afternoon to tell him of his decision before the announcement was made public. The England manager was at Anfield yesterday afternoon to watch Liverpool's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United. Hodgson picked Terry and controversially omitted Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton, from his Euro 2012 squad in May following a meeting with the Chelsea captain at the club's training ground

A guilty verdict this week for Terry would almost certainly have ended his international career regardless. Although Hodgson has been given a free hand to pick him for England while he has been waiting for his disciplinary hearing to come up, it is debatable whether the FA would have wanted Terry to be selected for England had he been found guilty – even once he had served any prospective ban.

In July, Terry was cleared by senior district judge Howard Riddle according to the criminal standard of guilt, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of proof for the four-man FA independent regulatory commission will be the civil standard: according to the balance of probability. Terry's hearing starts today in a secret location and will last two to three days.

Terry has long believed that having been cleared in court of calling Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" in an exchange at Loftus Road on 23 October last year, he should not stand trial again for the same offence under the FA's rules. The FA investigation into the incident began last year but was suspended on orders of the Metropolitan police when they followed up a complaint against the player by a member of the public, which led to the Crown Prosecution Service deciding to prosecute.

The FA charged Terry with using "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queen's Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, contrary to FA rules". Found guilty of the same offence towards Manchester United's Patrice Evra, Suarez was given an eight-game ban and a £40,000 fine. Even more damaging for Terry would be the damage to his reputation of a guilty verdict.

In his written reasons for the not guilty verdict in July, Riddle said that Terry was a credible witness. However, he had doubts about Terry versions of events in which he claimed he had repeated the racial slur back to Ferdinand as a sarcastic exclamation after the latter accused Terry of having said it.

Riddle told the court: "Mr Terry's explanation is, certainly under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely. It is not the most obvious response. It is sandwiched between other undoubted insults."

Last night Terry thanked Hodgson, "Roy" as he referred to him, in his statement and wished him well for the future. The Chelsea defender said: "I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I've played with.

"I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career. Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 

Terry was stripped of the England captaincy in February when the date for the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' court was set for after this summer's European championships. That decision by the FA set in train the sequence of events that led to Fabio Capello resigning as manager of the team. The FA last night declined to comment.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape