Anton Ferdinand dismissed John Terry insults as 'banter', court hears

 

Footballer Anton Ferdinand dismissed insults traded with John Terry as "banter" and initially denied any racist obscenity had been used, a court heard today.

England and Chelsea defender Terry, 31, is accused of calling Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" during a Premier League game on October 23 last year.

Today Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that at first Queens Park Rangers centre-half Ferdinand did not think any racist insult had been used.

He shook hands with Terry and accepted that their clash was "handbags" and "banter".

But after the match, his then girlfriend showed him a clip of their exchange posted on YouTube, and he believed Terry had used the racist obscenity.

Ferdinand told the court that if he had realised at the time he would have told officials.

He said: "I would have been obviously very hurt and I probably wouldn't have reacted at the time because, being a professional, you can't do that. I probably would have let the officials know what happened and dealt with it after the game.

"When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it's very hurtful."

Chelsea were down to nine men in the clash at Loftus Road, and Ferdinand and Terry began trading insults over a penalty claim, the court heard.

Ferdinand said: "He called me a c*** and I called him a c*** back and he gave me a gesture as if to say my breath smelled.

"I said to him, 'How can you call me a c***? You shagged your team-mate's missus, you're a c***'."

This was a reference to Terry's alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel.

Ferdinand jogged down the pitch making a fist gesture to imply sex, he told the court.

After the match, Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole told him: "You can't talk to JT like that."

Terry then met Ferdinand to ask what had happened.

"Mr Terry said, 'Do you think I racially abused you?'. I was like. 'No'," Ferdinand told the court.

"I said 'No, that never came out of my mouth'. Then Ashley Cole popped his head round and said 'Yeah, didn't you say that to me?' I said 'I didn't say that at all'."

Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies.

He maintains that he was only sarcastically repeating what Ferdinand wrongly thought he had said.

In cross-examination by George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Terry, Ferdinand said he was no stranger to being sworn at and agreed he had also sworn at players.

The QPR defender said he was angry at Terry trying to get a penalty and "he barged me in the back for no reason", he said.

Proceedings in Court One have been punctuated by swear words but Ferdinand insisted he did not use those words off the pitch.

The QC asked the witness if by shouting abuse at him he was "trying to get a rise out of Mr Terry and get him to react?"

"Probably, yes," said Ferdinand.

"There wasn't long left in the game."

Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, attended today's hearing and sat in the public gallery.

Mr Carter-Stephenson suggested that Ferdinand made up the allegation of racism as swearing at him and talking about his alleged affair was not having "the desired effect" of winding Terry up.

Ferdinand denied this.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said: "So you decided to increase the level and accuse him of being a racist."

"No," said Mr Ferdinand.

"Words to the effect of 'calling me a black c***'."

"No," said the player.

"And he responded to it, didn't he?" the barrister continued.

Again, Ferdinand answered "No", before agreeing that levelling the accusation would be serious.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said Cole asked Ferdinand during the discussion after the match: "Did you think JT called you a black c***?

"You know he isn't like that."

Mr Carter-Stephenson said Ferdinand only decided to go to police when persuaded by his agent Justin Rigby.

Ferdinand denied this, saying: "No, I made up my own mind, I wanted to do it."

In re-examination, he said he was initially reluctant to talk to the police because it was a sporting issue.

"This is a footballing issue that happened on the football pitch where we work," Ferdinand told the court.

The trial, expected to last five days, continues tomorrow.

PA

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.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence