LONDON: Chelsea, under media pressure, have conceded that John Terry was fined two weeks’ wages but will keep the club captaincy in the wake of the racist comment storm.
The former England captain was suspended for four matches and fined £220,000 by the Football Association for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game between QPR and Chelsea 12 months ago.
Terry decided this week not to appeal the decision and issued a generalised apology, though not specifically to Ferdinand. Chelsea then confirmed that they would inflict disciplinary action of their own.
Initially the club tried to keep this confidential but that provoked a further wave of anger within the game.
Subsequently chairman Bruce Buck confirmed the weight of the fine as the heaviest “by far” they had ever meted out to a player.
Buck added: “John will continue to be captain of the club. We have taken disciplinary action and we think it is firm disciplinary action and appropriate for the circumstances.
“We have kept in mind first of all that a court of criminal law found him not guilty. Of course we also note the FA decision and we certainly respect that decision. We’ve kept these factors in mind, we’ve consulted with the owner Mr [Roman] Abramovich.
“This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, it’s not a decision we took in a half-hour meeting, we discussed it over a long period of time and we think we’ve taken appropriate disciplinary action.”
Buck apologised to the Ferdinand family for what they have been through, saying: “I understand and, as a club, we understand what they have gone through since a year ago and Chelsea Football Club would like to apologise to them. It has been a very difficult year for them and they didn’t do anything wrong. And we are sorry.”
Chief executive Ron Gourlay argued Terry’s long service to Chelsea should also be taken into account but condemned his behaviour in the Ferdinand incident.
He said: “What you’ve got to take into consideration as well is that John’s played over 550 times for the football club, he’s captained the side over 400 times, he’s led the club and the team tremendously well during these games.
“We believe this was an error of judgment, it was out of character for John. He did fall below the high standards we expect at the club. The language used on the day, whatever the context, was wrong. We’ve come down on John very, very heavily.
“We are not sweeping this under the carpet. We have had to deal with this for the last 12 months. John let himself down, he let the club down, the words were inappropriate that he used.”
Asked if Chelsea should have sacked Terry to send a clear signal that the club takes a zero tolerance stance on racism, Gourlay said: “We haven’t tolerated the language that John Terry used. We’ve said it was not acceptable and we have taken action.
“We don’t believe for one minute that John is a racist and we must not forget that he was cleared in a court of law. We have taken action and we hope it gives out a clear signal that it is not acceptable.
“We know that not everybody is going to agree with this decision but we have tried to focus on improving and on doing better. The club is disappointed, the player is disappointed we are all disappointed and we have got to put things right.”
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