FA says Terry's defense 'contrived' in racism case

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LONDON (AP) - The FA panel that banned Chelsea captain John Terry for four matches for racially abusing an opponent found that his defense was "implausible and contrived."

The panel's 63-page findings were published Friday, a week after the verdict, and Terry has 14 days to decide whether to appeal his four-match ban and 220,000-pound ($356,000) fine in English soccer's highest-profile racism case.

Although Terry was cleared in a criminal court in July, an FA panel with a lower burden of proof found the former England captain guilty of directing abuse at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last October.

Terry, who quit the national team before the verdict, maintained that he only used the slur to counter an accusation of racism he claimed Ferdinand was leveling at him.

But the FA commission concluded that aspects of Terry's defense were "improbable, implausible and contrived, and which serve to underline and reinforce our decision."

"The commission is quite satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that there is no credible basis for Mr. Terry's defense that his use of the words `(expletive) black (expletive)' were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry," the FA report said. "Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult."

In the Terry judgment issued Friday, the panel raised concerns about the long-term impact of the player's high-profile outburst.

"His conduct undermines the FA's efforts to promote inclusivity, equality and diversity and in combating racism in football," the FA said, while stressing that Terry is not racist.

Since the confrontation, Ferdinand has been taunted by Chelsea fans when QPR has played its west London rival.

"The victim impact statement of Mr. Ferdinand makes it plain that he has been badly affected by the incident," the FA panel said. "He has been the subject of hateful abuse and adverse comments, but has acted with restraint and dignity."

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Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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