The Football Association (FA) found Chelsea and former England captain John Terry guilty of racial abuse against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry was punished with a four-game ban and $358,000 fine by the FA.
Terry deserved the punishment for the following reasons.
FA Code of Conduct and Rules of The Association
While a court of law acquitted Terry of racial abuse last July, the FA is a separate body with its own rules. The FA Code of Conduct for players demands that there must be respect during matches as well as off the field.
What Terry might have done to Ferdinand violates the FA Code of Conduct. It goes against efforts by the FA to address and reduce the problem of racism in football.
Section E of the 2012-2013 FA Rules of the Association relates to the conduct of players. Section E3 deals with abuse, including those related to race and ethnicity.
When Terry joined Chelsea FC and the English National Football team, he must have been aware of these rules. Martin Lipton of The Mirror wrote that clubs under FA jurisdiction approved the rules. Terry is a player for Chelsea, a member of the Premier League and the FA.
Terry and his lawyers can appeal the ruling, but the FA Code of Conduct is clearly written.
Diverting Attention for Too Long?
The Terry vs. Ferdinand spat took center stage during the QPR vs. Chelsea match earlier this month. Terry was booed by QPR supporters throughout the match.
Ferdinand refused to shake hands with Terry, which worsened the situation. My impression is that the tension in the match resulted in a scoreless draw.
How can teams playing against each other concentrate with animosity in the background? The Ferdinand vs. Terry spat left David Davies, former FA Executive Director, commenting about its duration.
Lessons To Be Learned
Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated. The players, managers, and supporters deserve an environment free of abuse.
The FA made the wise decision in addressing this in the rules. They will enforce the rules, and people will have to obey them.
It is hoped that Chelsea and England can put this sad chapter in their history behind them.