Roy Hodgson reluctantly entered the debate over John Terry's Football Association race charge when he admitted last night that he hoped the independent regulatory commission sitting in judgement on the case clears the Chelsea captain.
The England manager, who has not selected Terry for tonight's friendly against Italy in Switzerland, said that he was effectively "sub judice" when it came to the case but added, when pressed, that he hoped the commission would find in Terry's favour.
Asked about an earlier comment in which he appeared to say that he wished to continue picking Terry, Hodgson said: "It's a matter which is really, as far as I am concerned, working for the FA, sub judice. Everything I say can be misinterpreted. As far as I am concerned, he has a case to answer with the FA and I'll wait and see what happens.
"I'm hoping, and I make no secret of that, the case will take its course, that John, hopefully, will be freed as he was freed in a court of law, and will carry on playing for England. That's my hope. What will happen, I have no idea. As a member of the FA, it's a sub judice situation and I'm not prepared to say any more. I thought John did well in the Euros and I'd like to keep using him, but this is a case which is way out of my hands.
"John understands that. All I can do like many of his supporters, I suppose, is just hope he gets freed and can continue to play."
Terry was charged by the FA on 26 July with having racially abused Anton Ferdinand in Chelsea's away fixture against Queen's Park Rangers last season, just 13 days after he was cleared of the criminal offence by Westminster magistrates' court following a week-long hearing.
There is still no date for his FA hearing which he requested to contest the charge.
It is possible that the case may not be resolved by the time England play Moldova on 7 September and then Ukraine four days later in the first two 2014 World Cup qualifiers. The FA announced when it charged Terry that it would not affect him being called up for England in the interim.
Hodgson's admission that he would like to see Terry cleared is likely to attract some degree of controversy given his prominent position at the FA. The governing body is effectively the prosecutor in the case which carries a four-game ban as a minimum tariff.
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