Chelsea captain John Terry to miss next four matches after deciding not to appeal against racial abuse judgement
John Terry has announced that he will not appeal against the four-match ban and fine of £220,000 for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
The Chelsea defender also publicly apologised for the first time over the incident.
"I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game," he said in a statement.
Chelsea have also announced that have taken internal disciplinary action against their captain - although the sanctions "will remain confidential".
The former England captain's decision not to appeal means he will miss Chelsea's next four games, beginning with the London derby against Tottenham on Saturday. He will also miss two matches against Manchester United - one in the Premier League and the other in the Capital One Cup, plus the Premier League match against Swansea.
Terry said today: "After careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal against the FA judgment.
"Although I'm disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life.
"As I stated in the criminal case, with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate reaction to the situation for someone in my position.
"My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again.
"Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behaviour from football.
"I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family."
Terry was found guilty of racial abuse by the FA last month in relation to a confrontation with the QPR defender Ferdinand. The pair clashed during the Premier League match at Loftus Road in October last year. During the nasty exchange, Terry used the words "black c**t".
Terry claimed he used the words as a sarcastic response, believing Ferdinand had accused him of saying them. But the FA independent regulatory commission labelled his defence "improbable, implausible and contrived" and declared Terry's words had been used as an insult.
Today was the deadline for Terry to make a decision on whether to appeal, having had two weeks to study the full written reasons given by the FA.
It brings an end to a saga that has lasted nearly a year, starting with the incident itself on 23 October last year. Video evidence quickly emerged following the fiery match which showed Terry used the racist terminology.
The FA opened an investigation but that had to be suspended when police began to investigate the incident. In July Terry was cleared in Westminster Magistrates Court of a racially-aggravated public order offence.
The FA were then able to conclude their own investigation, which resulted in Terry being found guilty.
The incident also led to Terry's international retirement, saying on the eve of the resumption of the FA inquiry that the investigation made his position with the national side "untenable".
There has also been speculation that Rio Ferdinand's exile from the England team under Roy Hodgson has been due to the incident between Terry and Rio's brother Anton. Hodgson, who regularly picked Terry before the Chelsea defender's retirement, has always said Ferdinand's omission has been due to "footballing reasons".
In addition, the findings by the FA, which questioned why Ashley Cole had changed his statement to give more support to Terry's story, led to the full-back taking to Twitter to label the FA a "bunch of t***s". Cole has since issued a full apology for that and has admitted a misconduct charge.
Before Terry's decision, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor had urged the Chelsea captain to accept the punishment.
Taylor said: "I would like the situation to be ended and people learn from it and move on."
Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.
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