John Terry’s defence that he did not racially insult an opposing player was “improbable, implausible and contrived”, according to the commission who banned the Chelsea skipper for four matches.
The independent Football Association regulatory commission said there was “no credible basis” for Terry’s claim he had only been repeating words he thought that QPR defender Anton Ferdinand had accused him of saying during the match in October last year..
In their full written reasons for the four-match ban, the commission said they were satisfied the words were intended as an insult by Terry. He now has two weeks in which to appeal.
The commission also stated: “We are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.
“We are able to arrive at that decision without needing to make any adverse findings against Mr Terry arising out of his decision not to give evidence.
“Accordingly, the commission finds that there is ‘clear and convincing’ evidence.”
The commission said that character references from a number of people including black players made it clear Terry was not racially prejudiced.
“It is accepted by everyone involved in the criminal and disciplinary proceedings that Mr Terry is not a racist,” the commission added.
Ashley Cole’s statement supporting Terry’s version, and the role played by a Chelsea club official, has also been questioned by the commission.
Terry had been cleared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July of a racially-aggravated public order offence, partly helped by the testimony of England and Chelsea team-mate Cole.
However, the commission found there were discrepancies in Cole’s initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Ferdinand say to Terry compared with later statements.
Upon the publication of the comments yesterday, Cole reacted angrily on the social networking site Twitter, and and was later forced to apologise for using foul language to abuse the FA.
As for Ferdinand, the commission acknowledged “hateful abuse” he had suffered as a result of the case, and his response.
“The victim impact statement of Mr Ferdinand makes it plain that he has been badly affected by the incident,” the report said. “He has been the subject of hateful abuse and adverse comments, but has acted with restraint and dignity.”
The FA had told the panel that Terry’s stature as club and England captain at the time was an aggravating feature in the case.
“His conduct undermines the FA’s efforts to promote inclusivity, equality and diversity and in combating racism in football through the Kick it Out campaign,” the FA had told the commission.
Chelsea would not comment on the contents of the written reasons but a spokesman said: “As we said last week we recognise that John has the right to appeal.”
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo insisted he did not believe Terry capable of discrimination.
Di Matteo said: “From my judgment on this man, I’ve known him for many, many years since we played together.
“I’ve never had any doubt about the fact that his comments wouldn’t be of any kind of discrimination against any kind of ethnic party.”
Asked if he still stood by Terry, he added: “At the moment, he’s our captain and he’s available to play.”
However the anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card said the Terry affair had “tarnished” English football.
Paul Kearns, the organisation’s assistant chief executive, told Press Association Sport: “We welcome the release of the report today and it is clear the issue has been taken very seriously by the FA and we would always call for the strongest possible punishment for racist abuse.
“The written reasons are a very detailed analysis and set out the clear reasoning behind the decision.
“I think the case has tarnished English football – there are no winners in any case of racist abuse and football has clearly been a loser.”