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Jun 7, 2012

Taylor: FA could have avoided Rio-gate

PFA chief Gordon Taylor has told ESPN that the root cause of the ongoing Rio Ferdinand controversy is the FA's decision to abandon disciplinary proceedings against John Terry following his alleged racist slur.

It has been suggested that Ferdinand has not been included in England's Euro 2012 squad as a result of the legal case surrounding Terry's alleged racial abuse of his brother, Anton, during a Premier League match in October.

The police investigated the incident and Terry, who has denied the charges and vowed to fight them "tooth and nail", will face a court case on July 9, when he returns from the European Championship.

The FA decided not to deal with the incident at the time, in light of the ongoing police investigation, but Taylor believes this was the wrong decision and it has exasperated an issue that has plagued England during the build up to Euro 2012.

Taylor told ESPN: "The root cause of the problem has been the police telling the FA to hold fire. That has caused this massive problem, because it has allowed the whole thing to fester.

"But it doesn't happen in other sports, where they deal with their own disciplinary actions and then let the police get on with their criminal proceedings, that happened in spot betting in cricket.

"There is even a precedent in football. Eric Cantona's case was dealt with with dialogue between the PFA, the FA and Manchester United, the player was banned, the FA had taken their action, and ultimately there was criminal proceedings.

"The police delays in the criminal proceedings has left this elephant in the room which has affected the new England manager.

"I have always said, it would be best to take both players or none, but the new manager chose to take John Terry and that is his choice.

"But the atmosphere has been created by the delay in police proceedings and I feel that once the tournament is over we need to get together with the FA and have a stronger format for disciplinary procedures to ensure that issues such as these are dealt with as footballing matters first, and as quickly as possible.

"Of course one can sympathise with the issues of prejudicing court proceedings, but I don't subscribe to that, as there is a vastly different degree of guilt that would need to be proven in a criminal court than there would be in a footballing disciplinary hearing."

However, now that the decision to take Terry and omit Ferdinand has been made, Taylor has urged the nation to move on and support the England team in Poland and Ukraine.

"We have a new manager, he has made his choice, we have the squad out there, so it's time to let them get on with it and get behind the England team.

"It's not going to change the situation for me or anyone else to make comments regarding why we think Rio has been left out, everyone has already come to that conclusion."

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