Bridge of lies: FA say Terry's defence was 'contrived and implausible' as Cole is forced to apologise for Twitter attack… but Chelsea stand by shamed pair
22:47 GMT, 5 October 2012
Chelsea stand accused of lying after an FA commission released the written reasons behind John Terry’s four-match ban for racially insulting Anton Ferdinand.
In a 63-page judgement that shames the Champions League and FA Cup winners, the FA’s independent regulatory commission claims Chelsea players and staff concocted a pack of lies to save their captain.
Ashley Cole, who finished training at 12.15pm on Friday, responded to the commission’s report 36 minutes later by tweeting: ‘hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT****’.
Kicking out: John Terry trains with Ashley Cole at Chelsea's HQ on Friday
In the spotlight: John Terry's reputation has been hit hard by the 63 pages of the independent commission's report
FA reveal Terry hearing details
Click HERE for the full 63-page FA report on the John Terry racism case
He later apologised for ‘reacting in the heat of the moment’.
Terry’s explanation of his altercation with Ferdinand during the fiery clash with QPR at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011 was ruled ‘improbable, implausible and contrived’.
The FA’s reputation was also damaged after it emerged that a high-ranking member of the organisation emailed chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne on January 18, 2012, to say ‘it would be expected/anticipated the FA decision (sic) will reach the same conclusion as the courts’.
However, the commission, comprising barrister Craig Moore, Stuart Ripley and Maurice Armstrong, ruled that Terry used the words ‘f****** black c***’ as an insult. They did rule that Terry is not a racist.
Chelsea’s long-standing club secretary Dave Barnard, who is on the FA’s international committee, has also been dragged into the dispute after the commission ‘doubted the accuracy’ of his recollection of events.
Controversy: Terry was banned and fine for racial abuse at Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last season
On Friday, the club continued to stand by Terry, Cole and Barnard, and pledged their full support to the trio.Terry has until October 18 to decide whether to appeal but it is understood his lawyers have urged him to accept the findings and pay the 220,000 fine plus the commission’s costs.
Chelsea, who have a zero- tolerance policy towards racism, maintain that they will make a statement on Terry’s future at the club once the October 18 deadline has passed.
Despite Cole’s tweet, which was deleted within an hour by the left back, Chelsea made it clear his evidence was supported by the club.
In an interview with FA compliance officers Jenni Kennedy and Adam Sahaie on October 28, 2011, Cole claimed he heard the ‘b’ word, but thought it could have been ‘Bridge’.
Six days later, Barnard emailed the FA to amend the statement, at Cole’s request, to add the words ‘black or Bridge’. Barnard, who was called back to the Chelsea training ground yesterday afternoon to serve Cole with an internal misconduct charge for his tweet, refused to comment on his own position.
Racist abuse: Suarez was banned for eight matches for attacking Evra
Chelsea’s secretary was condemned for his statement, signed on September 13, 2012, in which he claimed that Cole told the FA during the initial interview that ‘there is no doubt in my mind he used the words “black” or “Bridge”.’
The commission ‘doubted the accuracy’ of Barnard’s statement, which was signed and dated 10-and-a-half months after the initial FA interview with Cole.
Incredibly, it has emerged that while Kennedy and Sahaie taped their interview with Terry at the Chelsea training ground, they only made hand-written notes of their meeting with Cole.
The Chelsea full back’s career with England is not in doubt following yesterday’s incendiary tweet and he spoke with head coach Roy Hodgson on Friday to confirm his ongoing commitment to his country.
Anger: Ashley Cole in training on Friday before he sent out his angry tweet
Cole, who apologised for the tweet in a statement through his lawyer for reacting ‘in the heat of the moment’, will be fined by Chelsea for breaking the club’s social networking code of conduct.
Although the FA were refusing to comment on Cole’s specific tweet, he will be charged with misconduct and faces a fine and a ban.
Cole, who has earned 98 caps, joins up with the England squad on Monday and is due to meet the FA’s president, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife, during their tour of St George’s Park the following day.
In a conversation with Hodgson on Friday, he drew the distinction between the FA and England duty and vowed to meet up for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
Terry, who announced his international retirement before the start of the commission hearing, stands by his original statement that he was ‘disappointed’ following the initial verdict.
Snub: Ferdinand refused to shake Cole's hand last month
The FA were also under fire from the Terry camp after it emerged that they changed Regulation 7.3 in the summer to lower the burden of proof in misconduct cases.
According to the rules for the 2011-12 season — the period when Terry made the racial insult — the more serious the accusation, the higher the standard of proof required to secure a result.
The FA amended the rule and simplified it to ‘civil balance of probabilities’, but the commission accepted Terry’s argument that the case should be heard on the rules in place at the time of the insult.
The commission has also been condemned by the Terry camp for introducing new evidence to the case, namely ‘The Barcelona Principle’ to help secure, in the words of the commission, ‘a result’.
Criticised: Cole arrives at Westminster Magistrates court in July
On April 24, 2012, Terry was sent off in the Nou Camp in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona for an assault on Alexis Sanchez.
As he left the field, the Chelsea defender claimed to TV reporter Geoff Shreeves that he ‘did not deliberately strike Sanchez’.
After watching a TV replay, Terry released a statement to say: ‘I’ve raised my knee, which maybe I shouldn’t have done in hindsight. I’m not that type of player.’
Trouble: Ashley Cole apologised over the tweet
The commission then used wide-ranging discretionary powers from Regulation 6.8 of the FA’s rules to admit Terry’s dramatic — and humiliating — U-turn in the Nou Camp as evidence.
Chelsea would not comment on the report, a spokesman saying: ‘As we said last week, we recognise that John has the right to appeal. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.’
Terry timeline – how the controversy unfolded
October 23 – John Terry releases a statement denying he made a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at QPR after videos had circulated on the internet.
October 25 – Scotland Yard announce they are assessing allegations of racist abuse of Ferdinand by Terry after a complaint from the member of the public.
November 1 – The Metropolitan Police confirm they have launched a formal investigation.
November 5 – England manager Fabio Capello confirms Terry will be selected for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden.
November 28 – Terry is interviewed under caution.
December 1 – Scotland Yard announce they have passed a file towards to prosecutors.
December 21 – The Crown Prosecution Service announce Terry will be charged with racially abusing Ferdinand and is due to appear before West London Magistrates' Court on February 1, 2012.
January 28 – The FA cancels the pre-match handshakes before the FA Cup fourth-round tie between QPR and Chelsea “to defuse further tensions” relating to the Terry-Ferdinand situation.
February 1 – District Judge Howard Riddle orders that Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July 9 – following Euro 2012 – after hearing a number of other Chelsea players would not be able to appear as witnesses until the end of the football season.
February 3 – Terry is stripped of the England captaincy for a second time. The decision was taken by members of the 14-strong FA board, without consulting Capello.
February 8 – Capello resigns as England manager two days after criticising the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy.
July 13 – Cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of making a racist insult to Ferdinand.
June 24 – Plays the full 90 minutes and extra time as England suffer more penalty heartache, losing their Euro 2012 quarter-final to Italy on penalties.
July 27 – Charged by the FA with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards QPR defender Ferdinand. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and requests a personal hearing.
August 30 – Recalled to England squad, after missing friendly against Sweden, for September's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.
September 9 – Withdraws from England squad for Ukraine game after picking up ankle injury in 5-0 win in Moldova.
September 23 – Announces his retirement from international football, shortly before the start of his personal hearing to answer the FA charge.
September 27 – Banned for four matches and fined 220,000 by an FA independent regulatory commission.
October 5 – FA reveal written reasons behind independent commission's ruling, insisting Terry's racist language towards Ferdinand was used as an insult and finding “no credible basis” for his defence that he was only repeating words he believed the QPR defender said to him.