John Terry recruits Fabio Capello to turn tables on FA

 

John Terry's legal team has turned the tables on the Football Association in the Chelsea captain's disciplinary hearing by attempting to show that the governing body has treated him differently to other England players who have found themselves in controversial circumstances.

The former England manager Fabio Capello and Franco Baldini, his general manager during four years in charge of the national team, have been asked by Terry's defence team to submit statements detailing how they dealt with incidents involving Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney.

On all occasions, Capello and Baldini worked on the basis that players were available for selection while they were awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings, or under pressure from events in their private life. Carroll was selected for his England debut against France in November 2010, one month after pleading guilty to assault.

Gerrard was selected to play for England on four occasions between December 2008, when he was charged with assault and affray, and July 2009 when he was acquitted of the charges. Rooney has never been the subject of a criminal charge but he was at the centre of some difficult disclosures about his private life in 2010.

Terry, 31, was stripped of the England captaincy by Capello in February 2010 to defuse the furore that followed revelations of Terry's alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former partner of Wayne Bridge. Terry has always denied that the affair took place.

He lost the captaincy for the second time in February this year. The FA removed it when the date for his trial on charges of racial abuse was moved to July, after this summer's European Championship. Capello's opposition to the FA's decision culminated in the Italian's departure.

Today Terry will discover the verdict of the independent regulatory commission on his charges of racially abusing the Queen's Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. The four-man panel, which includes the former Blackburn winger Stuart Ripley, now a solicitor, adjourned the third day of the hearing at Wembley stadium, at around 4.10pm yesterday.

On 13 July, Terry was cleared by Westminster magistrates' court of racially aggravated abuse of Ferdinand. Two weeks later, the FA announced it was charging Terry with "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour" at the game at Loftus Road on 23 October last year that "included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Anton Ferdinand."

Terry announced his retirement from international football on Sunday night, claiming that the FA had made his position "untenable". He has retained the services of the QC George Carter-Stephenson, who led his defence at Westminster magistrates' court in July.

There have also been character statements from the likes of Ray Wilkins, Chelsea team-mate Ryan Bertrand and potentially Capello.

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