/ 16 July 2012

Racism saga not over for Terry

Chelsea football player John Terry arrives at Westminster Magistrates court to stand trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Chelsea football player John Terry arrives at Westminster Magistrates court to stand trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

England defender Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing rival player Anton Ferdinand at the end of a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Friday.

During the trial, Terry admitted using the words "fucking black cunt" to Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers on October 23 last year.

He was acquitted by chief magistrate Howard Riddle on the grounds there was reasonable doubt over whether Terry intended to be abusive. Terry himself maintained he'd used the words only in the form of a question.

Suarez, Liverpool's Uruguay forward, was banned for eight matches for using the Spanish word "negrito" (little black) in a clash with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season.

The FA disciplinary commission in the Suarez case ruled he had broken rule E3 (1) of the FA's rule book simply by using racially offensive language and that any intention on the striker's part was no defence.

Combating offensive language
A commission including leading lawyer Paul Goulding said in its written verdict: "In our judgment, the test for breach of Rule E3 (1) is objective.

"The question is simply whether the words or behaviour are abusive or insulting … It is not necessary the alleged offender intends his words or behaviour to be abusive or insulting in order to breach Rule E3 (1).

Anti-racism campaigner Lord Herman Ouseley urged both the FA and English clubs to step up their efforts in combating offensive language.

"I think if clubs themselves are taking a lead about what standard of behaviour and conduct they expect and what they won't put up with, and if the football regulatory authority, which is the Football Association, does likewise in the way that it carries out its responsibilities with regards to conduct then I think we can transform the game."

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand, Anton's brother, defended his response to a Twitter post which referred to Ashley Cole as a "choc ice".

England full-back Cole gave evidence on behalf of Chelsea team-mate Terry and that prompted a Twitter user to write: "Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice. Then again he's always been a sell-out. Shame on him."

'Chock ice'
Ferdinand replied: "I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!"

"Choc ice" can mean black on the outside, white on the inside and is a derogatory way of referring to people believed to have betrayed their ethnicity.

Ferdinand, himself a Manchester United and England defender who often played alongside Terry at international level, said Sunday: "What I said yesterday is not a racist term. It's a type of slang/term used by many for someone who is being fake. So there."

Terry was stripped of the England captaincy in February over the allegations. As a consequence, Fabio Capello resigned as England manager, just months before England, defender Terry included, competed in the 2012 European Championships.

Rio Ferdinand was, controversially, left out of England's squad for the tournament, a decision manager Roy Hodgson insisted had been taken for "purely football" reasons. – Sapa-AFP