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Terry to face criminal charge over racism claim

Updated: December 21, 2011, 09:24


LONDON(AP) England captain John Terry will face a criminal charge over allegations that he racially abused an opponent in the Premier League.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the Chelsea defender for his on-field exchange with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand on Oct. 23.

"I have today advised the Metropolitan Police Service that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offense following comments allegedly made during a Premier League football match between Queen's Park Rangers and Chelsea,'' said Alison Saunders, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London. "The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all the evidence I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.''

The CPS said Terry will appear before West London Magistrates' Court on Feb. 1.

"He is now summonsed with a criminal offense and has the right to a fair trial,'' Saunders said. "It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial.''

The 31-year-old Terry has publicly refuted the allegations that he racially abused Ferdinand, who is black.

Police assessed the incident after a complaint by a member of the public last week and passed its evidence to the CPS for consideration on Dec. 1.

Ferdinand submitted his account of the incident to the Football Association and said he has "very strong feelings on the matter.''

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