The Football Association have denied making John Terry's position with England "untenable" following the Chelsea captain's shock decision to quit international football.
Terry announced on Sunday he was making himself unavailable for his country with immediate effect, on what was the eve of his FA racism hearing. The Chelsea captain effectively accused the FA of forcing his hand after they charged him over last October's altercation with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
But despite the decision of Westminster Magistrates Court to clear Terry of a racially-aggravated public order offence over the same incident, FA general secretary Alex Horne hit back, telling Sky Sports News outside Wembley: "I don't see how we've made it untenable - they're two very separate processes."
He continued: "It's something that happened in a match between QPR and Chelsea - it shouldn't be taking a year to resolve but we feel we're reaching a conclusion on that. That's a very different process, from my perspective, from our England procedures.
"They sit in different compartments and I could separate the two in my mind. But, unfortunately it doesn't look like he could."
Horne was speaking as Terry's hearing in front of an independent FA panel looked to have got under way, with some of the key players reportedly arriving at Wembley.
Ferdinand appeared to be photographed being driven through the national stadium's east entrance, while there were unconfirmed rumours Terry had earlier arrived at the west entrance.
Terry's trial lawyer, George Carter-Stephenson QC, entered the building early on Monday morning. Terry could face a lengthy ban if found guilty by the FA of using racist language during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on October 23 last year, a charge he categorically denies.
The 31-year-old was found not guilty in court in July, with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" as an insult. Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.
Chelsea and England team-mate Ashley Cole gave evidence that helped exonerate Terry, telling the court: "We shouldn't be sitting here."
- John Terry
- Anton Ferdinand