John Terry’s defense for his racial slur toward Anton Ferdinand was “improbable, implausible and contrived” the independent English Football Association (FA) commission that banned him for four matches, said on Friday.
The Chelsea captain was last week found guilty of racially insulting the QPR defender during a Premier League match last October.
The FA’s findings, published on Friday, said there was no evidence that Terry was a racist. However, they dismissed his account of the event and cast doubt on evidence given by teammate Ashley Cole, acting in Terry’s defense.
Cole then used his Twitter account to insult the FA, tweeting: “Hahahahaa, well done FA. I lied, did I,” before ending his message with an abusive expletive.
The comment was later deleted and Cole apologized unreservedly, the BBC reported.
Shortly after the FA’s document was published, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, monitored by the club’s head of communications Steve Atkins at his pre-match media briefing before yesterday’s game against Norwich City, attempted to steer clear of the issue.
Atkins said Chelsea would not comment on the case while Terry can still appeal the decision to ban him for four games and fine him.
“John Terry has the right of appeal and in view of this it would be inappropriate for us to comment further,” he told reporters at the club’s training ground.
Atkins stepped in several times before Di Matteo could answer questions, but the Chelsea manager repeated his assertion that he had no problems with Terry.
“I have never had any doubt that his comments would be of any kind of discrimination against any other ethnic party,” Di Matteo said.
“At the moment he is our captain and he is available to play and that’s the situation,” he said.
Terry was found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offense in a criminal prosecution in July, however, the FA used different standards of proof.
The FA, which held an inquiry into the incident following the court case, ruled they did not believe Terry was a racist, but rejected his defense saying there was no doubt he racially abused Ferdinand after being provoked by the QPR player.
In the document, the FA said there was “no credible basis” for the Chelsea skipper’s defense that he was only repeating words he believed Ferdinand had said to him.
Terry admitted using the word “black” surrounded by highly offensive words but claimed he had only repeated words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.
In its full written report, the FA’s independent regulatory commission said it was satisfied Terry’s words were intended as an insult.
“The commission is quite satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that there is no credible basis for Mr Terry’s defense that his use of the words ‘f****** black c***’ were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry,” the document said.
“Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult,” it said.
The commission continued: “There are further aspects of Mr Terry’s defense that the commission finds improbable, implausible and contrived, and which serve to underline and reinforce our decision.”
Cole’s statement supporting Terry’s version, and the role played by a Chelsea club secretary David Barnard, were also questioned.
The commission found there were discrepancies in Cole’s initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Ferdinand say to Terry compared to later statements.
Cole did not mention the word “black” in his initial interview with the FA. Barnard asked the FA for the word “black” to be inserted into Cole’s statement, suggesting the defender may have heard Ferdinand use the term.
“All of this causes the commission to have very real concerns about the accuracy of Mr Barnard’s recollections, and the motivation for the assertions that he makes in his witness statement about what Mr Cole said during the FA interview of him, particularly his alleged use of the word ‘black,’” the report said.