The full FA disciplinary report for the John Terry case was released Friday morning, and it makes for damning reading for the Chelsea captain, teammate Ashley Cole and the club's secretary, David Barnard.
Terry was banned for four games and fined £220,000 by the FA after a regulatory commission found him guilty of using racially abusive language toward Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match last October.
Terry has admitted using the words, "You f**king black c***," but has always maintained they were thrown back at Ferdinand to refute the accusation that he'd used them.
That defense was enough to see him found not guilty by a Magistrates' court. The FA, however, have ruled it "implausible" and can thus be seen to brand Terry as both a liar and guilty of perjury in his legal case. This, as per their full written report:
...the Commission is quite satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that there is no credible basis for Mr. Terry's defense that his use of the words "f**king black c***" were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry.
Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult. We are able to arrive at that decision without needing to make any adverse findings against Mr. Terry arising out of his decision not to give evidence.
The FA report also casts doubt over the validity of the statement provided by Terry's Chelsea teammate Cole.
Cole helped corroborate Terry's claim that he said those three words—branded the "unholy trinity" by the FA—by way of "forceful rejection/inquiry."
But the FA are unhappy with the fact that Cole's initial statement was altered, "retrospectively"—citing an exchange of emails with Chelsea secretary Barnard, who asked for the draft statement to be updated to include that Cole heard Ferdinand use the word "black."
In his initial statement, Cole had said only that he heard, "a B word."
Barnard is also shown in a bad light by the FA report. In a witness statement dated Sept. 13, 2012, Barnard wrote that he "clearly remembered" Cole telling the FA that Ferdinand had called Terry "a f**king c***" on the pitch at Loftus Road.
The FA are left wondering why Barnard didn't mention that fact in his earlier correspondence. This, as per the official report:
These concerns raise significant doubts in our minds about the case that Mr. Barnard's statement advances, namely that of Mr. Cole saying in interview that he heard Mr. Ferdinand use the words “f**king c***”, coupled with a word beginning with a “B”, that could have been “black”, accompanying his pumping fist gesture.
It is self-evident that, if true, such evidence would provide direct support for Mr. Terry's case. That would appear to be the clear purpose for its inclusion in Mr. Barnard's statement
The suggestion here is that Barnard was acting in Terry's interests, and not in that of the FA inquiry reaching a just outcome. It's less clear whether the same accusation can be made of Cole.
That said, here's the rather ill-advised response on Twitter from England's first-choice full-back:
Whatever your take on Cole and Barnard, there can be no doubt Terry has been cast by the FA as a liar. If he knew what was coming, there can be little confusion as to why he resigned from England duty.
Could Cole be next? Maybe the FA will make the decision for him.