John Terry charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

 

John Terry is facing up to his biggest battle yet as he attempts to clear his name of the racism charge that has been levelled against him.

The Crown Prosecution Service this afternoon confirmed that Terry will go before West London Magistrates Court on February 1, charged with a racially aggravated public order offence over comments allegedly made during Chelsea's Premier League encounter with QPR at Loftus Road on October 23.

Terry has already claimed innocence and repeated that assertion in a statement released within minutes of the CPS announcing their decision.

However, he must also be aware that if he is found guilty, it would be virtually impossible for him to remain as England captain.

"I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible," said Terry.

"I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.

"I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence. I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society."

Yet Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London, has told Scotland Yard that after reviewing the evidence, including previously unseen footage that was handed in last week, there is "a realistic possibility' of securing a conviction against the 31-year-old.

"I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case," said Saunders.

"He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."

The Football Association have given a brief response to the latest development, which came less than 24 hours after they handed Liverpool's Luis Suarez an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine for comments made to Manchester United's Patrice Evra seven days before the Terry incident took place.

A statement on their official website, www.thefa.com, read: "Further to the announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today [21 December] regarding the allegation against John Terry following the Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea fixture on Sunday 23 October 2011, The Football Association will not be making any comment at this time."

Terry was caught by TV cameras appearing to mouth an obscenity at Anton Ferdinand, which he said afterwards had been "taken out of context".

No stranger to controversy in his career, Terry will be aware of the potential consequences of failing to prove his innocence.

The FA stood by him during the most recent England internationals, with Fabio Capello making him skipper for the friendly win over Sweden at Wembley in November on the basis that Terry was "innocent until proven guilty".

That stance is unlikely to change now, not least because England do not have a game until February 29, when they tackle Holland.

However, having taken such a strong line with Suarez and led the condemnation over the recent comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who suggested in a TV interview that arguments of a racial nature that took place on the pitch should be settled by a handshake, it would be impossible for them to endorse Terry as skipper if a guilty verdict was recorded.

The FA have worked tirelessly with anti-racism bodies for decades and are prevented from launching their own action against Terry until the criminal case has been completed.

For Chelsea however, the matter is far more immediate.

And, having continued to pick Terry since the row first exploded into the public domain, Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas sees no reason to alter that stance now.

"I will be really supportive of John Terry whatever the outcome of the situation," he said.

"He has my full support, the club's full support.

"He represents this club to a maximum level and we're very grateful to have a player of his quality in our team, in what he represents in terms of history and achievements a the club.

"We know exactly his human values and personality, so we will support him whatever happens."

And, after overcoming an injury sustained during an open training session on Monday, Villas-Boas confirmed Terry will skipper Chelsea in their Premier League encounter with Tottenham tomorrow despite the likely reaction from Spurs supporters.

"John is selected for tomorrow's game," said Villas-Boas.

"A Premier League pitch is a difficult environment but it won't be a problem for a player of John Terry's experience."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker