Sponsors shun Terry over charge for racism

Umbro downplay association with England captain, who heads for court on 1 February

John Terry's marquee sponsor Umbro has distanced itself from the England captain by removing from its website all key images of the player, who now faces a courtroom battle to save his reputation after being charged with racially abusing the Queen's Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.

In another dramatic 24 hours in English football yesterday, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that there was a "realistic prospect of conviction" in the case of Terry, who is charged with "a racially aggravated public order offence" and will face court on 1 February. In the meantime, Umbro, which has had Terry as an endorsee for most of his professional career, has made a company decision to downplay its connection with the player.

The website of the sportswear company, which is owned by Nike, features only one picture of Terry and a search of his name yields only three results. England team-mates such as Joe Hart, Gareth Barry and Darren Bent are all featured on the UK homepage, as well as Michael Owen, but Terry, who remains the England captain, has been omitted.

As manufacturers of the England kit, Umbro has always sought to be the boot sponsor for the team's captain. It sponsored Alan Shearer when he was captain before David Beckham, who was an Adidas player. It is understood that Terry's contract with Umbro is due to expire at the end of the season. An Umbro spokeswoman declined to comment last night.

Following Luis Suarez's eight-match ban and fine from an independent commission on Tuesday, the announcement on Terry meant that there will be pressure on the Football Association to decide whether the Chelsea player will be able to continue as the England captain. As of last night, the governing body refused to make any comment on the issue although it is understood that it has made no firm decision on Terry's future.

When Steven Gerrard was charged with assault and affray at the end of 2008 he was permitted to continue playing for the national team on the basis that he was innocent until proven guilty. He was later acquitted. Fabio Capello took that stance with Terry when he was called up by England last month, playing in the second friendly against Sweden.

However, the FA has a prerogative that these highly charged issues have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that Terry will be able to represent England when they play the Netherlands on 29 February unless the legal process has been completed.

Although Terry is due in court on 1 February, a not guilty plea will mean that the case is adjourned and it is almost certain not to have been resolved by the time of the friendly. He is charged with a summary offence, which does not carry a custodial sentence, but he could be fined up to £2,500 if found guilty.

The CPS case against Terry also means that it will be difficult for the FA not to charge the player when the legal process is completed. Its investigation was put on hold while the CPS investigated and will have to resume once the court case has finished.

Within minutes of the CPS announcing their decision yesterday, Terry issued a public statement reiterating his belief in his own innocence. He said: "I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible.

"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."

There was a robust defence of Terry from his manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who said at his press conference, before the CPS statement, that he would support the player "whatever happens". Villas-Boas said: "We know exactly his human values and personality, so we will support him whatever happens. I've not the right to say that their justice is wrong. He is fit and available." In the aftermath of the CPS announcement, Chelsea said that they had "always been fully supportive of John in this matter and there is no question that we will continue to be so".

The allegation relates to Chelsea's game at QPR in October when footage of a dispute between Ferdinand and Terry seemed to show the latter using the phrase "black c***". Terry said he used the phrase but only in the context of rebutting Ferdinand's accusation that he had called him that.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)