On Friday, the England’s Football Association issued a 63 page ruling providing rationale for their recent 4 match ban of former Chelsea captain John Terry, accused of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand nearly a year ago at Loftus Road. As the Guardian’s Owen Gibson explains, the F.A. dubbed Terry’s defense, “improbable, implausible and contrived”.
The FA regulatory commission found there was “no credible basis” for Terry’s defence that he was merely repeating back to Ferdinand in indignation the phrase “fucking black cunt” in the belief that the QPR player had accused him of racial abuse. It also cast serious doubt on the evidence of teammate Ashley Cole and the “materially defective” recollections of the Chelsea secretary, David Barnard. The ruling suggested that Cole’s evidence “evolved” over time to suit the case that Ferdinand may have said the phrase in question on the pitch.
The Chelsea left-back, who is due to win his 100th England cap a week on Tuesday against Poland, said via Twitter after seeing news of the verdict on television: “Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS.” He apologised two hours later via his solicitor, claiming the remarks were made “in the heat of the moment”. The tweet was sent just as Roberto Di Matteo was giving a press conference and the Chelsea manager was forced to insist his players were not “out of control”.
According to “cogent” new evidence considered by the panel but not by the court, in an interview with FA officials at Chelsea’s training ground five days after the match, Cole said he heard a “b-word” but did not mention the word black. In a later emailed statement, Cole said the word “could have been Bridge”. But Barnard later emailed the FA after discussing the matter with Cole to add the words “black or Bridge”.
In his witness statement some 10 months later Barnard also claims that Cole heard the word “cunt” being used in close proximity to the “b-word”. But the commission found on the balance of probabilities that Cole’s original evidence contained neither that word nor “fucking” – the “unholy trinity” of words that Terry claimed had provoked his outburst.