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

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week