Hodgson rues Terry’s England exit

England manager Roy Hodgson said on Monday that he had "reluctantly" accepted John Terry's decision to call time on his international career, as the centre-back contested a Football Association racism charge. 

Chelsea captain Terry effectively accused the FA of forcing his hand in quitting England duty after the governing body pressed on with charges that he racially abused Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand in October.

Terry, who has always denied using a racist slur against his opponent, was found not guilty in a criminal case relating to the incident in a London court in July.

Despite the controversy, Hodgson picked Terry in his squad for the European Championship in June and wanted to have the 31-year-old involved in England's bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"I'd like to thank John Terry for his commitment to the England team since I became manager," said Hodgson.

"I am of course disappointed to lose a player of John's international experience and exceptional ability.

"I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager and I reluctantly accept his decision. I can also confirm that he had the courtesy to call me prior to the announcement of his retirement from the England team.

"I'd like to wish John well for the future with Chelsea."

In a separate statement, the FA thanked Terry for his England service. "Following his announcement that he is retiring from the England team, the FA would like to thank John Terry for all of his efforts with the national team over the past decade," read a statement from the FA.

"During his 78 appearances, John has always given his full commitment to the team."

Former England captain Terry, who is to continue playing for European champions Chelsea, on Sunday hit out at the FA for putting him in what he felt was an impossible position.

"I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable," he said in a statement.

"I now look forward to playing for Chelsea FC and challenging for domestic and European honours and I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support."

But FA general secretary Alex Horne told Sky Sports on Monday: "It's a personal decision. I don't see how we've made it untenable; they're two very separate processes.

"That's a very different process from our England procedures. They sit in different compartments and I could separate the two in my mind, but it doesn't look like he could."

The criminal action had to prove Terry's guilt beyond reasonable doubt but the judge ruled the prosecution had not proved their case to that standard. Terry had hoped his courtroom acquittal would be the end of the matter but instead found himself on the end of an internal FA hearing.

He, his legal team, the independent FA panel and Ferdinand were all seen arriving at the FA's Wembley Stadium headquarters in north London on Monday morning. Terry's supporters say the FA's own regulations should preclude any further action. The FA's own rule 6.8 states: "Where the subject matter of a complaint or matter before the Regulatory Commission has been the subject of previous civil criminal or civil proceedings, the result of such proceedings and the facts and matters upon which such a result is based shall be presumed to be correct and the facts presumed to be true unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence, that this is not the case."

However, the FA are likely to insist their charge is distinct from the racially-aggravated public order offence of which Terry was cleared in the criminal case.

Terry admitted in court he used a racial slur against Ferdinand but said he was merely repeating what he believed Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

The panel, who gave Liverpool striker Luis Suarez an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season, said just using racist language was enough to constitute a breach of FA rules. – AFP

Julian Guyer
Guest Author
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