Column: John Terry’s Case – An Overlap Of Criminal And Disciplinary Proceedings
On July 13, 2012 English football player John Terry (Chelsea Football Club) was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence. He was accused of using racially abusive and insulting words towards Queens Park Rangers’ player Anton Ferdinand during a game between their teams on October 23, 2011. The Westminster Magistrates Court found that there was a reasonable doubt about Terry’s guilt. Subsequently, the only possible verdict could be one of not guilty. There was insufficient evidence of what Terry exactly said, in what context, and with what tone. After the verdict, an independent regulatory commission of the Football Association (FA) unsuspended its own disciplinary proceeding investigating whether Terry was guilty of misconduct based on the Rule E3 (2) of the FA Rules 2011-2012 (racially insulting word). On September 27, 2012 the independent commission decided on his guilt and suspended him from all domestic club football for four competitive matches and fined the sum of £220,000.
In the said case the court used, as it always does, the criminal procedure standard of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”. It means that there was no certain evidence that could prove Terry’s guilt. The disciplinary body used a lower civil standard of proof that is “the balance of probability”. It assessed the credibility of both parties and the probability of what might have been said. Furthermore, the disciplinary body acted in compliance with its policy on fighting racism as well as with its former decisions, e.g. in Luis Suarez’s case.
 Full text of the verdict: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/r-v-john-terry.pdf
 Full Written Reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission: http://www.thefa.com/News/governance/2012/oct/~/media/22A83175745E44468105B57232F085B7.ashx
 Yet this case was not the subject of a criminal investigation.
 Gautrin and others v. France, 20-05-1998, 1998-III, no. 72, http://www.uniceub.br/curso/mestrado/MaterialEstudo/01%20CASOS%20CONCRETOS/19%20ESGOTAMENTO%20VIA%20INTERNA/07%20GAUTRIN%20VS%20FRANCE/01%20MERITS%20JUST%20SATISF._FRANCE.pdf
About: ASSER International Sports Law Centre
The T.M.C. Asser Instituut, together with its stakeholder universities, is currently aligning its research activities in four inter-university research programmes. These research programmes will form the core of the academic activities of the institute for the coming years. Each programme has its ow...
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