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Oct 19, 2012

Chelsea mum on John Terry's captaincy

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo on Friday refused to confirm whether John Terry remains the club captain.

"We do not discuss publicly the disciplinary matters we take against our players. They remain confidential. You will have to wait and see," Di Matteo said. "They are internal matters, the action we take against our players, and we are not going to discuss it."

Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 ($354,000) pounds after an independent Football Association regulatory commission found him guilty of racially abusing the QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The FA suspension means Terry will miss Chelsea's games against Tottenham (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN2, ESPN3), two against Manchester United -- in the Premier League and Capital One Cup -- and Swansea.

It also means he will not be involved in any games during Kick It Out's week of action, which started Thursday.

Terry accepted the sanctions Thursday and issued an apology for the language he used, while Chelsea said it also had taken internal disciplinary action against the player, but insisted the nature of the punishment would remain confidential.

Di Matteo said Terry knows whether he remains Chelsea captain, but the manager refused to make that decision public.

"Over the many years he has been here he has shown a lot of qualities," Di Matteo said. "He has realized that on that day he fell below his standards and the clubs standards. For that he has received a ban and a fine and more action from the club. He is being punished for what he has said. We have all made mistakes in our life before."

Di Matteo welcomed Terry's decision not to appeal the four-match ban. Terry also apologized for the language he used towards Ferdinand, though he did not specifically direct his apology to the player.

"We appreciate he has not appealed the ban and the fine and that he has apologized publicly for the language that he used," Di Matteo said. "He has apologized generally to everyone, including the Ferdinand family. It wasn't a matter of not apologizing directly. It was a matter of apologizing to everyone for the language used in that game. He knows it was not appropriate and he has been banned and fined for that."

Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), criticized the FA Friday, saying it allowed the case to drag on for far too long, had not provided enough support to Ferdinand and had not rebuked England manager Roy Hodgson for making supportive statements about Terry.

Powar supported the handling of the other high-profile case in the English game in recent months, when Liverpool striker was Luis Suarez banned for eight matches last season for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

"What the FA did with Suarez was absolutely the right way to deal with the situation but with Terry it took too long, the punishment was inconsistent with the Suarez sanction and the mess included inappropriate statements from the England head coach, who basically seemed to support him," Powar said. "That went without comment or sanction by the FA. To have their most high-profile employee getting involved in such a significant and important issue as this was wrong."

Powar said the FA should have launched a review of how the cases had been handled.

"The whole situation has highlighted how English football has been tackling racism for a long time, but a lot of it has felt like lip service," Powar said. "Football needs to learn lessons from this past year but I have not heard of any wide-ranging review of how can we deal with this better, and how to give support to people who have felt the game is not doing enough to heed their needs, who have borne the brunt of this."

In a statement Friday, FA chairman David Bernstein insisted lessons would be learned by his organization.

"The damage of this affair is not irreparable, but as events this week have shown there are still many lessons to be learnt in the wider fight against racial abuse and discrimination of all types," Bernstein said. "Domestically the FA has ultimate responsibility for the leadership of the game at every level and I, personally, remain determined to lead English football in this fight."

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley said Chelsea's stance on Terry could damage the club in the eyes of those people who had been waiting many months to see how the club handled the case.

"I believe Chelsea need to be open about the action they have taken," he said. "A lot of people will be dissatisfied that Chelsea have not been much more upfront about the standards they set and the values they have. If they are not prepared to say, it will further damage the trust of those people who still have suspicions about Chelsea's sincerity in dealing with this matter.

"I do welcome what they have said, but they need to be saying more and doing more if they are going to win back the confidence of people who have lost trust in them rather than to sit back and be silent."

Chelsea released a statement Thursday saying Terry's language was not acceptable.

The statement read: "The board has taken further disciplinary action in addition to the four-match suspension and 220,000 ($354,000) fine imposed by the FA. In accordance with our long-standing policy, that disciplinary action will remain confidential."

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