John Terry defence ‘improbable, implausible and contrived’

John Terry’s defence against claims he racially abused Anton Ferdinand was “improbable, implausible, contrived”, according to the Football Association panel which found him guilty.


The FA’s 63-page report  explaining why Terry was banned for four games and fined £220,000 was published on Friday.


The panel says the Chelsea captain, 31, “is not a racist” but it is “satisfied” his comments were used as an insult.


Terry, cleared in court of abusing QPR’s Ferdinand, has 14 days to appeal.


Chelsea would not comment on the report, a spokesman saying: “As we said last week we recognise that John has the right to appeal.


“In view of this it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on the matter at this time.”

The incident between Terry and Ferdinand occurred during QPR’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea in a Premier League game at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

It was alleged Terry described Ferdinand as “black” and used extreme sexual swear words.

Terry’s case was that he used the word “black” and swore at Ferdinand but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought the Rangers defender had accused him of saying.

But the report says parts of Terry’s defence were “improbable, implausible and contrived”, which “serve to underline and reinforce our decision”.

It added: “His repetition of words that Mr Terry claims were said to him first by Mr Ferdinand is implausible if they were really intended to be a robust denial.

“A much more plausible and likely explanation is that Mr Terry was angry; angry at Mr Ferdinand’s taunting and provocation of him, angry at the way the match had gone, and angry at the way in which it seemed likely to end.

“The much more likely explanation for what he said is that all of this provoked him into saying [the words].”

Terry was cleared in court, where the criminal burden of proof is “beyond all reasonable doubt”, but the independent FA commission that investigated the case used the lesser civil test, that of on the “balance of probabilities”.

In court, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said it was “highly unlikely” Ferdinand accused Terry of racially abusing him, but it was possible Terry believed at the time that an accusation had been made.

Mr Riddle went on: “In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.”

But the FA report says that, on the balance of probabilities: “The commission is quite satisfied that there is no credible basis for Mr Terry’s defence that his use of the words were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry.

“Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.”

The report also questions Terry’s demeanour if he had been accused of making racist comments.

“The commission is entitled to use its collective experience of life and people to judge demeanour,” it states.

“We have watched the film footage many times. In the critical phase, during which he uses the words, Mr Terry can be seen to be smiling initially, before his facial expression changes to disdainful and contemptuous.

“At no point is his demeanour and facial expression that of someone who is imploring, injured, or even quizzical in the face of an unfounded allegation by Mr Ferdinand that he had just been racially abusive towards him.

“Anger is a conceivable reaction to such an accusation, but at no time does Mr Terry convey any sense of ‘no, I didn’t’ with his facial expression, or body language.”

It adds that there is a large body of testimonial evidence, including statements from black footballers, to suggest Terry is not a racist.

Meanwhile, the report details the role of Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, who gave evidence in support of Terry at court.

One of the chapters, entitled the ‘evolution of Ashley Cole’s evidence’, says the Chelsea left-back added at a later date the word ‘black’ into his witness statement which outlined what he claimed to have heard Ferdinand saying to Terry.

According to the report, this had the effect of “bolstering Mr Terry’s claim that the words that he spoke to Mr Ferdinand were not said by way of an insult, but as repetition and forceful denial of what Mr Ferdinand had accused him of saying.”

Alluding to the eight-game ban handed to Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in December 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, the report says Terry’s punishment was four games because the “racist insult was issued only once”.

Suarez was said to have repeatedly said an abusive word to Evra.