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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk