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Sep 27, 2012

John Terry fined, benched 4 matches

The English Football Association on Thursday dealt Chelsea captain John Terry a four-match ban and a £220,000 ($356,356) fine following the player's four-day disciplinary hearing for an Oct. 23, 2011 racial slur toward QPR's Anton Ferdinand during their Barclays Premier League match.

The 31-year-old, who on Sunday announced his retirement from international football, can lodge an appeal against the panel's decision.

"Mr. Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law," Terry's representatives said in a statement released to the BBC.

"He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal."

The full reasons for the FA's verdict are yet to be released, but the panel said Terry used "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior ... which included a reference to color and/or race."

Terry is considering whether to appeal, and the sanctions are on hold until then.

Chelsea said the club "respects" the verdict but it would be "inappropriate" to comment further before any appeal.

Fabio Capello quit as England coach in February in protest at the FA's decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy before the trial.

In the criminal court case, Terry did not deny using an offensive term during the match at QPR but said all he did was sarcastically repeat the words he was accused of using.

Terry has endured a tumultuous career in recent years, having twice been stripped of the captaincy by the FA.

He first lost the armband in 2010 in the wake of allegations that he had an affair with the girlfriend of former Chelsea and England teammate Wayne Bridge, before being deposed again this February after it was revealed he would stand trial for alleged abuse of QPR defender Ferdinand during a Premier League game.

Ferdinand said he had been goading Terry about his alleged extramarital affair with the former girlfriend of ex-England teammate Wayne Bridge.

The magistrate described Terry's defense as being "under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely," but found there was not enough evidence to prove he was lying.

Terry was cleared in the criminal court case at Westminster Magistrates' Court in July but the FA ruled he would be subjected to a disciplinary hearing. The FA hearing had a lower burden of proof.

Ferdinand testified to the independent panel in Terry's presence when the hearing began on Monday.

Before his FA hearing Monday, Terry announced his retirement from international soccer after nine years with England.

"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.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas on Thursday called Terry's retirement from international football a "massive loss" for England.

"Terry is a player of unbelievable talent and he has done so much for his country and for Chelsea too," said Villas-Boas, who was Terry's manager on the day of Terry's clash with Ferdinand last October. "From the perspective of the England squad and qualification for the World Cup, it leaves Hodgson in a difficult position looking towards qualification."

Terry is the second Premier League player in a year to be banned for racism. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra a year ago, but was found to have done so on a number of occasions during the match.

The FA said in its Suarez verdict last year that his guilt did not depend on whether he "intended his words to be abusive or insulting," with the use of a racial slur during a match enough to convict the Uruguay international.

QPR's Joey Barton, who is currently serving a 12-match domestic ban for violent conduct and is on loan to Marseille where the suspension does not apply, tweeted in response to Terry's ban: "12 games!!! By the FA's perverse reckoning, I'd of got less of a ban for racially abusing the Man City players than tickling them as I did.

'Well I think that proves a lot. What an absolute farce. Twelve games for violent conduct and only four for that. FA should be embarrassed. #shambles,' tweeted Barton.

Terry is accused of a single utterance towards Ferdinand, which had led to speculation of a four-match ban.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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