Suarez and Terry: What's the difference?

Two high-profile racism rows have rocked the Premier League and raise a number of questions
  • @jackpittbrooke

Q. After a week dominated by two alleged racism cases, Luis Suarez has been given an eight-game ban while John Terry has a date in court. Why the different outcomes?

A. Because Terry's is a criminal prosecution and Suarez's a Football Association disciplinary measure. This is because there was a Metropolitan police investigation into Terry's conduct, prompted by an anonymous complaint from a member of the public. There was no such police action over Suarez.

The Suarez issue went straight to the FA, leading to this week's decision that he should serve an eight-game ban. There will be no equivalent FA action against Terry until his criminal prosecution is over. Once that has taken place he may well face an FA disciplinary process.

Q. What does the immediate future hold for Terry?

A. He will not appear in court until 1 February. There will be no football ban against Terry until the prosecution is over, and Chelsea are likely to keep picking him. It is not known, though, whether England will do the same or keep him as captain. The next England game is the Wembley friendly against the Netherlands on 29 February, and it is unlikely the case will be finished by then. Steven Gerrard was allowed to play before a 2009 trial for assault and affray at which he was acquitted, but the FA deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis.

Q. What will happen on 1 February?

A. John Terry will appear at West London magistrates' court for an initial hearing after being charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. Terry has pledged to fight the charge "tooth and nail". The trial may not start for weeks or even months. If found guilty, in a case heard in front of a magistrate rather than a jury, Terry faces a maximum fine of £2,500. Only at the end of the trial may the FA start any proceedings regarding the case.

Q. What next for Luis Suarez?

A. Once Luis Suarez receives the written reasons for the independent regulatory commission's decision he will have 14 days to decide whether or not to appeal – against the level of the sanction, rather than the guilty verdict.

Until he decides whether or not to appeal the ban will be suspended, but his agent and lawyer suggested that he would. "It seems to us absolutely out of proportion," said Alejandro Balbi. "It's one of the hardest sanctions handed down in English football. He [Suarez] is firmly convinced this hard sanction can be reversed."

Liverpool face Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Manchester City in the next two weeks.

MOTD: Hansen sorry

Alan Hansen has apologised after his use of the word "coloured" for black players on MOTD sent Twitter into meltdown. He said: "I unreservedly apologise for any offence... I deeply regret the use." In a discussion about racism Hansen had said: "There are lots of coloured players who are probably the best in the League."