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Five Aside: Di Maria a skillful crosser

Five Aside 16 hours ago
Read
Jul 9, 2012

Ferdinand: Remarks 'very hurtful'

QPR defender Anton Ferdinand initially dismissed insults traded with John Terry as "banter'' but claimed he would have been "very hurt" if he had heard the Chelsea captain racially abuse him, a court heard on Monday.

England and Chelsea defender Terry, 31, is accused of calling Ferdinand a "f****** black c***'' during a Premier League game on October 23 last year.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on the first day of his trial that at first Queens Park Rangers centre-half Ferdinand did not think any racist insult had been used. He shook hands with Terry and accepted that their clash was "handbags'' and "banter''.

But after the match, his then girlfriend showed him a clip of their exchange posted on YouTube, and he believed Terry had used the racist obscenity. Ferdinand told the court that if he had realised at the time he would have told officials.

He said: "I would have been obviously very hurt and I probably wouldn't have reacted at the time because, being a professional, you can't do that. I probably would have let the officials know what happened and dealt with it after the game. When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it's very hurtful.''

Chelsea were down to nine men in the clash at Loftus Road, and Ferdinand and Terry began trading insults over a penalty claim, the court heard.

Ferdinand said: "He called me a c*** and I called him a c*** back and he gave me a gesture as if to say my breath smelled. I said to him, 'How can you call me a c***? You shagged your team-mate's missus, you're a c***'.''

This was a reference to Terry's alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel and Ferdinand then jogged down the pitch making a fist gesture to imply sex, he told the court.

After the match, Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole told him: "You can't talk to JT like that.'' Terry then met Ferdinand to ask what had happened.

"Mr Terry said, 'Do you think I racially abused you?'. I was like. 'No','' Ferdinand told the court. "I said 'No, that never came out of my mouth'. Then Ashley Cole popped his head round and said 'Yeah, didn't you say that to me?' I said 'I didn't say that at all'.''

In cross-examination by George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Terry, Ferdinand said he was no stranger to being sworn at and agreed he had also sworn at players.

The QPR defender said he was angry at Terry trying to get a penalty and "he barged me in the back for no reason'', he said.

Proceedings in Court One have been punctuated by swear words but Ferdinand insisted he did not use those words off the pitch. The QC asked the witness if by shouting abuse at him he was "trying to get a rise out of Mr Terry and get him to react?''

"Probably, yes,'' said Ferdinand. "There wasn't long left in the game.''

Mr Carter-Stephenson suggested that Ferdinand made up the allegation of racism as swearing at him and talking about his alleged affair was not having "the desired effect'' of winding Terry up. Ferdinand denied this.

The court also heard from lip reader and sign language interpreter Susan Whitewood.

Mrs Whitewood was asked to assess footage of the match and studied a clip of Ferdinand walking behind the accused.

She said Ferdinand said "Oi, you'', then there was an obstruction, the referee's head.

"Then, shagging your mate's missus, and another word I cannot decipher.''

Asked to explain what Terry said on the footage, which was broadcast during the match, she said: "The first words are 'Yeah, I,' then a word I couldn't get, I didn't get it because of the quickness. There was an obstruction for a moment then he says f****** black c***. Then a slight pause then, f****** knobhead.''

Mrs Whitewood also studied unbroadcast footage from which she said Terry could be seen saying: "'And yer,' then there was a word I couldn't ascertain. There was an obstruction then another word I couldn't obtain. Then the word black, a pause then f****** knobhead.''

The witness said it was not an exact science and agreed under cross-examination, "to a degree'', educated guesswork was involved. Mr Carter-Stephenson said there was "a fundamental unreliability being able to interpret speech with certainty,'' to which the witness agreed.

The QC added that context was important but "in this case an extremely limited amount of footage''. "Yes,'' said Mrs Whitewood.

The court heard that the expert and a defence lip reader agreed the word or part of it before Terry said f****** black c*** was impossible to confirm because there were several options. Mrs Whitewood said she believed the word was "you''.

Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies. He maintains that he was only sarcastically repeating what Ferdinand wrongly thought he had said.