The verdict on John Terry's charge of using racist language on the pitch is expected later today after the Chelsea skipper departed from Wembley Stadium.
Terry arrived shortly before 9am for a fourth day before an FA independent regulatory commission and left just before noon. Neither he nor his lawyer George Carter-Stephenson QC made any comment.
The 31-year-old denies a charge that he used a racist slur towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand in October last year. If found guilty, Terry has 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision in which to lodge an appeal. No ban will come into operation until the appeals procedure is complete.
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra a year ago, but was found to have done so on a number of occasions during the match.
Terry is accused of a single utterance towards Ferdinand, which has led to some speculation that if found guilty the Chelsea player would be more likely to receive a four-match ban. However, close analysis of the full reasons behind Suarez's ban shows that Terry could still face a similar-length ban if found guilty.
In Suarez's case, the FA argued for an increased sanction pointing out that "Mr Suarez is an international footballer of exceptional ability, playing for one of the best-known clubs in the world. His position carries with it a particular degree of responsibility. His conduct amounts to a serious breach of that responsibility".
That criteria applies to Terry - in fact given that he was England captain at the time of the incident, even more so.
Terry and his advisors are hoping that he will be completely exonerated - and if he is not an appeal looks almost certain to be lodged because it is understood the FA would not regard such an action as frivolous.
Terry was found not guilty in Westminster Magistrates Court in July of a racially-motivated public order offence with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" as an insult.
Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying. Terry's legal team had argued the governing body's own rules dictated his acquittal in court means the case cannot proceed but the FA believed their charge was distinct from the court charge.
- John Terry
- Anton Ferdinand