Football Association general secretary Alex Horne has voiced his surprise at John Terry’s decision to retire from international football.
Terry, 31, released a statement on Sunday – less than 24 hours before an FA hearing into his alleged racial abuse of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand – in which he claimed English football’s governing body had made his position in the national team “untenable”.
The Chelsea captain, who has twice been stripped of the England captaincy by the FA, said: “I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because 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.”
But Horne, speaking on his way in to Wembley for Monday’s hearing, said he did not believe the FA had made Terry’s position untenable and said the hearing was not related to the defender’s international career. He told Sky Sports News: “It’s a personal decision. I don’t see how we’ve made it untenable – they’re two very separate processes.
“It’s something that happened in a match – 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 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.”
Reports suggested that the hearing had got under way. A care that appeared to be carrying Ferdinand arrived at the stadium, while Terry’s trial lawyer, George Carter-Stephenson QC, was already present.
The prosecution in Terry’s London court case had been unable to prove that he had called Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” as an insult. He claimed to have been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.
Terry’s legal team could attempt to get the FA case against him dismissed by arguing that the governing body’s own rules dictate that his acquittal in court means the case cannot proceed.
The FA may respond that its charge is distinct enough from the offence of which he was cleared in July. The panel that banned Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for eight games after finding him guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra said the use of racist language was enough to constitute a breach of FA rules.
If the panel finds Terry guilty of having used racist language during the QPR v Chelsea match on October 23, he could face a lengthy ban from domestic football. Terry, who has categorically denied racially abusing Ferdinand, was cleared after a London court case in July.
Delivering his verdict after a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said: “Even with all the help the court has received from television footage, expert lip readers, witnesses and indeed counsel, it is impossible to be sure exactly what were [all] the words spoken by Mr Terry at the relevant time.
“It is impossible to be sure exactly what was said to him at the relevant time by Mr Ferdinand.” Club England managing director Adrian Bevington described Terry, wh won 78 caps, as someone who had always “given his all” and had been “a great servant” to the England team.