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.

News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
News
Youngsters around the country living it up in des-res two-storey garden mansions with a balcony
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Extras
indybest
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal