Chelsea captain John Terry announced his retirement from international soccer less than 24 hours before a Football Association hearing into allegations he racially abused an opponent during a Premier League game.
Terry, 31, said in a statement late yesterday that English soccer’s governing body had forced his decision after he’d been acquitted in a London court of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during the Oct. 23 match.
“I feel the F.A., in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable,” Terry said in the statement released by his management company.
Two weeks after Terry received a not guilty verdict at a London magistrates’ court on July 13, he was charged by the F.A. for using alleged “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior” that “included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or color and/or race of Anton Ferdinand.”
Terry denied the charge and requested a personal hearing, which started today.
England manager Roy Hodgson today thanked Terry for his commitment to the national team and said he’s “of course disappointed to lose a player of John’s international experience and exceptional ability.”
“I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager and I reluctantly accept his decision,” Hodgson said in an F.A. statement. “I can also confirm that he had the courtesy to call me prior to the announcement of his retirement from the England team. I’d like to wish John well for the future with Chelsea.”
Terry made his England debut in 2003 and played 78 times for the national team, scoring six goals.
The defender was appointed as David Beckham’s successor as England captain in 2006 and was stripped of the position in February 2010 following allegations of marital infidelity with the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge.
Terry was reappointed as skipper in March 2011 and held the position until Feb. 3, when the F.A. removed him from the role until the racism charge was resolved.
“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honor,” Terry added in the statement. “I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision.”
Terry most recently represented his country in the 5-0 World Cup qualifying victory against Moldova on Sept. 7. England faces a pair of qualifying games on Oct. 12 and 16 against San Marino and Poland, respectively.