Independent on Sunday

Anton Ferdinand is unlikely to be charged for using abusive language by the Football Association.

The FA, having put their own inquiry into the John Terry case on hold at the request of the police, have resumed it following last week’s criminal trial which saw Terry cleared of racially abusing Ferdinand.

The FA disciplinary cases are decided on the lower threshold of balance of probability and, should Terry be charged, he is likely to face an FA hearing similar to the three-man commission that dealt with Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. Terry could also face a lesser charge, alongside Ferdinand. Since both players used four-letter words, each could be sanctioned under Rule E3, which bans improper conduct and “indecent or insulting words or behaviour”.

But the FA know that any such charge against Ferdinand would provoke dismay and anger in football’s black community. As one former black player, now in football administration, said: “How can Ferdinand be charged? On what grounds?”

Many players are angry that the FA did not deal with the issue immediately after it happened. The FA inquiry started five days after last season’s match when the FA’s head of off-field regulation, Jenni Kennedy, interviewed Terry. But the FA accepted the police request to put aside their own inquiry. This contrasts with the FA’s stance over Eric Cantona a decade ago. On that occasion the FA conducted their own investigation into the Cantona kung fu incident despite a criminal prosecution of the player.


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