Judicial proceedings against footballer kick off


Sports are competitive by nature. Sometimes the desire to win and the heat of the moment take over and sportsmen resort to inappropriate conduct. This week (11 July 2012) the trial against Chelsea footballer John Terry began - he is accused of having racially assaulted a player on the opposite team during a football game last year.

A police officer who was off-duty made a complaint against Terry after he saw the game between Chelsea and QPR. Footage recorded of the match appears to show Terry racially insulting QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Denies charges

Terry denies the charges brought against him, and firmly maintains that he is not guilty of having committed a racially aggravated public order offence. There is no way of telling exactly what Terry said to Ferdinand; not even lip readers can say for certain what words were exchanged between the two players.

The Chelsea footballer has said that he responded to what he believed were insults from Ferdinand, and that after the game he clarified matters with the defender to ensure that there were no hard feelings.

However, Terry admits that the footage from the game is not in his favour. The difficulty of establishing what exactly occurred has led to Terry's defence arguing that it should be thrown out.

Assaults part of a footballer's every-day life

Terry has said that verbal abuse is not unusual in football, and that it is often part of the game. Despite such an atmosphere, he maintains that he is not guilty of what he is being accused of.

In fact, he even said that had he wanted to express such sentiments as he is being accused of, he could simply have covered his mouth with his hand and whispered the insults to Ferdinand.

The extensive TV coverage of sporting events has brought a new dimension to the game. Referees and other officials can analyse what went on both during a game and after it took place.

Update: Not Guilty Verdict

John Terry was ultimately acquitted of the criminal charge by the Magistrates’ court. However a separate investigation by the FA found him guilty of racial abuse and handed down a four-match ban. The reason for the differing verdicts is that criminal cases must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but the FA only looked at the balance of probabilities.

If you believe you are the victim of racial discrimination, particularly in the workplace, we can put you in touch with an expert solicitor, free of charge. Call us on 0800 1777 162 or fill in the web form above to speak to one of our advisors.

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