Piara Powar, the director of the Uefa-affiliated campaign Football Against Racism in Europe, has expressed his dismay at the FA’s decision to leave the Terry hearing until next Monday, having charged him in July.
The seven-week delay between the
Telegraph Sport can reveal how black players have made campaigners aware of debate about how to “punish” the FA. There has been talk among senior black international players whether to boycott the England team, although that is an extreme measure unlikely to be carried out.
“The issue has caused a massive storm among black players,” Powar confirmed. “There is the timing issue with John Terry. There are a few things that lead you to believe it’s [FA] expediency.
“The first is Roy Hodgson’s approach. The first time he talked about it he said it’s sub judice and then he made some stupid comments about Terry being found innocent already. He said, ‘Why try him?’ Not understanding that one is a criminal trial and the other is a professional misconduct charge.”
The FA has also never fully explained why it deferred its charging decision until after his criminal trial took place, refusing to discuss a matter it considers sensitive. Although it was before the chief magistrate, whose decision is legally viewed as impervious to outside influences, the FA delayed its own investigation, meaning Hodgson could pick him for the European Championship.
By contrast the International Cricket Council did not hesitate to pursue disciplinary action against the match-fixers Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif despite an ongoing criminal investigation that led to a jury trial: timing that might legally be more sensitive.
“They waited until after the two World Cup qualifiers to try him,” Powar added. “Why did they not do so as soon as the criminal trial took place? Much of what was heard in the criminal trial, interviews with players in particular, was the FA’s evidence anyway.
“All these things come together and give the sense that the FA is acting in its own interest. The wider point is that the FA really should be separating off their regulatory and commercial operations.
“At the moment they operate Chinese walls, but they don’t work. At the very least they should sit in a different building without contact. This gives the impression they just compare notes about how to take things forward.”
Powar’s comments come as the select committee on culture, media and sport delivered a report into racism in football. It is also compiling a report into the game’s governance.
Lord Ouseley, chairman of the FA’s equality and diversity advisory group, said: “The focus of the findings is about the role of the FA as the game’s governing body in being proactive to step up those areas where there needs to be more activity such as leadership on disciplinary matters, opening up opportunities for coaching and management and raising the standard of morality in the game.”