England and Chelsea captain John Terry is to face an investigation by the English Football Association over claims he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
An FA statement said the organisation had received a complaint of “alleged racist abuse” stemming from an incident in Sunday’s stormy west London derby won 1-0 by QPR.
“The FA will now begin to make enquiries into this matter. The FA takes seriously any allegations of discrimination and abuse of this type,” the statement said.
Although the wording of the FA statement did not name Terry, the Internet address bar accompanying the release on the organisation’s website did carry the defender’s name.
QPR owner Tony Fernandes said in a separate statement the club stood squarely behind Ferdinand, the brother of Terry’s England team-mate Rio.
“Queens Park Rangers Football Club does not condone racism in any way shape or form. As a club, we will provide our players with our unequivocal support when alleged incidents like this occur.”
Terry later said he was confident the probe would clear him.
“I welcome the FA enquiry and look forward to clearing my name as soon as possible,” the 30-year-old defender said.
Confirmation of the probe gives English authorities a potentially massive headache, coming only seven months after Terry regained the England captaincy after it was stripped from him in 2010 following revelations about his relationship with the ex-girlfriend of a team-mate.
The English FA has also backed several anti-racism initiatives, most notably the Kick It Out campaign, and has regularly lodged complaints whenever the country’s players have been the subject of racist abuse in international football, most recently during a September qualifier with Bulgaria.
The dual FA and QPR statements followed a day of intense speculation over whether Ferdinand would choose to back Terry’s version of what took place.
Video footage posted on the Internet following Sunday’s game appeared to show Terry shouting a racist slur, apparently towards Ferdinand. Terry issued a statement late Sunday strongly denying he had abused the player.
In subsequent interviews published on Tuesday, Terry again angrily rejected the allegations, saying that the footage had instead caught him asking Ferdinand if he mistakenly believed he had racially abused him.
“I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him. I responded aggressively that I never used that,” Terry was quoted as saying.
Terry had also insisted he regarded the incident closed after he had spoken to Ferdinand in the dressing room following the game.
“Anton and I spoke for 10 minutes in the dressing room after the game and there is no issue between us. It’s finished,” he said.
Ferdinand had reportedly decided to sleep on the matter before holding talks with QPR officials to discuss whether he wished to make a formal complaint.
The QPR and FA statements indicated Ferdinand has chosen not to back Terry’s portrayal of the incident as a “misunderstanding.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police also confirmed they were “assessing” a complaint from a member of the public concerning the Terry incident.
“We can confirm that police have been notified of an incident on Sunday 23 October involving alleged racial abuse,” a statement said.
“This is currently being assessed by officers from Hammersmith and Fulham.”
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas also told journalists earlier Tuesday the club was squarely behind its captain.
“He has put out his statement and we fully back John,” Villas-Boas told a press conference. “John is a player who (represents) this country to the highest level internationally.
“He said to me the incident was a big misunderstanding. That’s why he put his statement out straight away.
“I find it strange when people don’t trust the words of a representative from your country.”