Premier League - Terry to face racism charge
Wed, 21 Dec 14:22:00 2011
The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised the prosecution of John Terry for a racially aggravated public order offence.
Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London said: "I have today advised the Metropolitan Police Service that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments allegedly made during a Premier League football match between Queen’s Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October 2011.
"The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all the evidence I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.
"Mr Terry will appear before West London Magistrates’ Court on 1 February 2012.
"He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."
The full CPS charge to Terry read: "On 23rd October at Loftus Road Stadium you used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated in accordance with section 28 or the Crime and Disorder Act 1998."
The maximum sentence for a racially-aggravated public order offence is two years in prison.
The FA issued a statement saying it "will not be making any comment at this time".
Terry, who strongly denies the allegation, immediately released a statement.
"I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible," it read.
"I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.
"I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence... I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society."
A Chelsea statement said: "Chelsea Football Club today received notification that the Crown Prosecution Service has charged John Terry with a racially aggravated public order offence.
"John has made it clear he denies the charge and is determined to do all he can to prove his innocence. Chelsea FC has always been fully supportive of John in this matter and will continue to be so.
"The club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and we are proud of the work we undertake campaigning on this important issue. Chelsea will not be commenting further on the subject while the legal process runs its course."
Manager Andre Villas-Boas said before the verdict: "The only thing I know is that I will be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome," he said. "He has my full support, he has the club's full support.
"We know exactly his human values and personality. They are never in doubt."
Terry to face racism charge