Chelsea were strongly criticised yesterday for refusing to publicise their punishment of John Terry. The club confirmed that they had taken "confidential" action against their captain, who decided not to appeal against his Football Association fine and suspension for using racist language towards Queen's Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand. Nearly one year after the incident, Terry apologised.
How Chelsea have sanctioned Terry, beyond his four-match ban and £220,000 fine from the FA was unclear yesterday, though as the club did not consult the Professional Footballers' Association he was fined at best two weeks' wages, approximately £320,000. However, Lord Ouseley, the chairman of anti-racism body Kick It Out, claimed that for such a public figure and public offence, Chelsea should reveal their decision if they want to regain some of the credibility lost in the fallout from the affair.
"I believe Chelsea need to be open about the action they have taken," Lord Ouseley said. "A lot of people will be dissatisfied that Chelsea have not been much more up front about the standards they set and the values they have."
"If they are not prepared to say, it will further damage the trust of those people who still have suspicions about Chelsea's sincerity in dealing with this matter. I do welcome what they have said, but they need to be saying more and doing more if they are going to win back the confidence of people who have lost trust in them rather than to sit back and be silent."
Yesterday's decision by Terry marked an ending of sorts for a case which began a year ago this weekend when he clashed with Ferdinand during a Premier League game at Loftus Road. The Chelsea captain, "after careful consideration", chose not to contest the FA independent regulatory commission's decision and said sorry for his language. "I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queen's Park Rangers last October," said the former England captain.
"Although I'm disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life."
Chelsea always said they would not act until Terry had made a final decision on an appeal. "John Terry has made the correct decision by not appealing against the FA judgment," a club statement said. "Chelsea also appreciates, and supports, John's full apology for the language he used. The club firmly believes such language is not acceptable.
"The board has taken further disciplinary action in addition to the four-match suspension and £220,000 fine imposed by the FA. In accordance with our long-standing policy, that action will remain confidential."
Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea's manager at the time of the QPR game, defended his support of Terry at the time. "This is a long story full of events," the Tottenham manager said. "I made my stance towards my reading of the situation. But what I have done in the past I continue to support."
There was criticism of the FA punishment from the former England international Luther Blissett, who questioned whether it was right that Terry's ban was only half as long as the one imposed on Liverpool's Luis Suarez for a similar offence last season. "A lot of people have been talking about the difference in games Terry and Suarez got," Blissett said. "They should use the eight games as a bottom line. Anybody who infringes the rules should get that and more. "
Blame game: John Terry's apology
"After careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal against the FA judgment. I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queen's Park Rangers last October. Although I'm disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life.
"As I stated in the criminal case, with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate reaction to the situation for someone in my position. My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again. Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behaviour from football. I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family"
Cole counts FA tweet cost
Ashley Cole has been fined £90,000 after admitting a Football Association charge in relation to a foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter.
The Chelsea and England defender labelled the game's governing body a 'bunch of t***s' after an independent regulatory commission investigating the John Terry race-row case had cast doubt on Cole's evidence.
His comments were swiftly removed and he later said sorry to the FA chairman, David Bernstein. However, an FA charge remained and Cole, who requested a non-personal hearing, was told of his punishment yesterday.