LONDON: The reputation of English football has been tarnished by the long-running John Terry affair, according to Football Association chairman David Bernstein.
Chelsea skipper Terry decided not to appeal against a four-game ban for using racist language towards Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand on Thursday, bringing to a close an unsavoury chapter that put racism under the microscope. Terry, who was cleared in a lawcourt of racism in July, apologised for his “inappropriate” language on Thursday although he continued to express “disappointment” at the FA’s ruling.
Bernstein said having football dragged through the lawcourts marked a difficult period for the English game which has made large strides in erasing racism from stadiums. “The decision by John Terry not to appeal his FA charge hopefully brings to a close a difficult period for the domestic game in England in which, unfortunately, the reputation of English football has been damaged,” Bernstein said in a statement.
“It is a shame that one high-profile incident has had such a major impact. But this single event should not be allowed to overshadow the massive strides taken by players, managers, clubs, leagues and so many across the national game in terms of equality and inclusion.”
“The damage of this affair is not irreparable, but as events this week have shown there are still many lessons to be learnt in the wider fight against racial abuse and discrimination of all types. No player should suffer the intolerable abuse the likes of which Danny Rose was subjected to in Serbia.”
The FA have complained to world governing body FIFA after Tuesday’s under-21 match in Serbia was marred by incidents of alleged racist abuse towards England’s black players. While campaigns in England such as “Kick it Out” have been successful in the fight against discrimination, the Terry affair which has rumbled on for a year and led to the resignation of former England coach Fabio Capello as well as his own retirement from international football, have cast a cloud over the game.