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Sep 24, 2012

FA on John Terry: '2 separate processes'

The Football Association on Monday denied making John Terry's position with England "untenable" following the Chelsea captain's shocking decision to quit international football.

"I don't see how we've made it 'untenable' -- they're two very separate processes," FA general secretary Alex Horne told Sky Sports News on Monday outside Wembley.

"It's something that happened in a match between QPR and Chelsea -- it shouldn't be taking a year to resolve but we feel we're reaching a conclusion on that."

The disciplinary hearing got under way Monday with Anton Ferdinand giving testimony to the independent panel in Terry's presence.

Terry on Sunday announced his retirement from international football, less than 24 hours before the FA hearing into his alleged racial abuse of Ferdinand.

"I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable," Terry said.

England coach Roy Hodgson said he "reluctantly accepted" Terry's retirement.

"I am of course disappointed to lose a player of John's international experience and exceptional ability.

"I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager," he said.

"I can also confirm that he had the courtesy to call me prior to the announcement of his retirement from the England team. I'd like to wish John well for the future with Chelsea.''

The Chelsea captain effectively accused the FA of forcing his hand after charges stemming from last October's altercation with QPR defender Ferdinand, despite the decision of the Westminster Magistrates Court to clear Terry of a racially-aggravated public order offense over the same incident.

"That's a very different process, from my perspective, from our England procedures," said Horne.

"They sit in different compartments and I could separate the two in my mind. But, unfortunately it doesn't look like he could."

Former England captain Gary Lineker, who earned 80 England caps during his career, said Terry's decision is understandable given the circumstances.

"He says FA have made his position 'untenable.' [It was] probably a sensible decision," Lineker said via Twitter.

"Whatever you think about John Terry, he always gave his absolute all on the field for England. A strong leader and great defender."

Jimmy Armfield, another former England captain, said Terry's absence will be a difficult challenge for Hodgson to overcome.

"I was surprised to hear the news," Armfield told BBC Radio 5 live. "He has had a pretty strong run of England matches and it has come at a pretty difficult time for Roy Hodgson.

"We are in the middle of the World Cup qualifiers and I think he needs all the good players he has got. It looks at this moment as though there is a question of loyalty here somewhere."

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant blasted the FA for its probe.

"Nobody thinks that John Terry is a racist so the FA need to leave it. He's a good man," Grant told BBC Radio 5 live.

"He respects everybody, he's good with people and I was very surprised that people thought bad things about him. If [the FA] think JT is racist they need to do something but I think nobody thinks he is a guy like this."

Terry could face a lengthy ban if found guilty by the FA of using racist language during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on Oct. 23, 2011. Terry denies the charges.

The 31-year-old was found not guilty in court in July, with the prosecution unable to prove he had made a racist slur against Ferdinand.

Terry admitted using a racial slur, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

Chelsea and England teammate Ashley Cole gave evidence that helped exonerate Terry, telling the court: "We shouldn't be sitting here."

The panel, who handed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez an eight-match ban when they found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last season, declared at that time that simply using racist language was enough to constitute a breach of FA rules.

Hodgson controversially picked Terry for this summer's European Championship, while his court case was still pending.

Horne added of Terry's decision: "It's obviously disappointing. He played well for us at the Euros, but it's his decision and we respect that."

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said the 78-cap Terry had "always given his all" and had been a "great servant" for his country.

"Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour," Terry said in his statement Sunday.

"I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish Roy and the team every success for the future."

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