LONDON: John Terry racially abused the brother of his England colleague Rio Ferdinand during a football match after he was taunted about an alleged affair with a team-mate’s ex-girlfriend, a court heard Monday.
Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence following the emergence of video footage which appeared to show him abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinandduring a Premier League match in October 2011.
The Chelsea captain, 31, allegedly used a racist slur against Ferdinand, who is mixed race, along with a string of obscenities as the pair traded insults, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny said Terry’s words “demonstrated hostility based on Mr Ferdinand’s membership or presumed membership of a racial group”.
Penny said the insult was made “most probably in response to physical gestures being made by Mr Ferdinand which the defendant understood to refer to the well-publicised allegation of an extra-marital affair with a team-mate’s girlfriend, shouted at Mr Ferdinand.”
Allegations emerged in 2010 that Terry, who is married, had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge who was also formerly at Chelsea.
Terry maintains that he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had said earlier, the court heard.
A few supporters outside shouted “Good luck, John!” to the 31-year-old as he arrived at court, wearing a grey suit and pink tie. He did not speak to reporters.
At an earlier hearing Terry’s lawyers entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
If found guilty, Terry could be fined up to £2,500 (3,150 euros, $3,850), although the damage to the player’s lucrative commercial deals would likely be far greater.
His trial was delayed until after the Euro 2012 championships after a judge heard that a number of other Chelsea players would be unable to appear as witnesses until the end of the football season.
Terry was stripped of the England captaincy by the English Football Association in February as a result of the racial abuse allegations. Fabio Capello resigned as England coach following that decision.
The case also caused friction when Terry was selected for the Euro 2012 squad last month but Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was left out.
The trial is expected to last five days. (AFP)