Its the festering sore that wont go away. The John Terry case took a more sinister turn last night with the revelation that a senior FA executive tried to persuade the FA panel investigating the John Terry race row to align their verdict with the one given in the magistrates court earlier.
The email was sent by a high-ranking member of the organisation to chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne on January 18, 2012, to say ‘it would be expected/anticipated the FA decision (sic) will reach the same conclusion as the courts’. This would be a serious perversion of justice had it been a court case, however, the implications for Chelsea FC are obvious.
This revelation of interference in the course of the enquiry follows revelations about other inconsistencies in the evidence given to the panel. A section of the report concludes that Chelsea’s long-standing club secretary Dave Barnard, who is on the FA’s international committee, has also been dragged into the dispute after the commission ‘doubted the accuracy’ of his recollection of events. That is legal speak for lying. Barnard had, in fact, emailed the panel asking them to amend Ashley Cole`s statement to include the word "black". Whilst this may seem insignificant on the face of it, their are serious implications in its inclusion. The reason for this `last minute` amendment was to bolster Terry`s original assertion that he was merely repeating Ferdinands words, and that included the word "black". Of course, we now know that the panel threw this out immediately as an attempt to gerrymander the evidence in an attempt to support Terry`s disingenuous evidence.
The significance of the high-ranking FA members intervention is understood better when we now find that Terry refused to give any further evidence to the FA panel, instead saying that he would rely on the evidence he gave at the court hearing. That is why there was the intervention by the high-ranking FA official. In other words, his evidence was the same, so the verdict should be the same!
Chelsea have stated that they stand by their captain, Cole and Barnard. However, they also have a club policy of zero-tolerance to racism, so where does that leave Terry? It seems that there has been a culture of arrogance towards officialdom, the FA and the media at Chelsea since the arrival of Roman Abramovich, a man who has become used to being obeyed and not questioned.
This case is fast becoming a watershed for football in this country. Do we allow a club run by a foreign oligarc to ride rough shod over the rules that everyone else has to play by? Chelsea are one of the clubs that have objected to the Premier League Financial Fair Play rules stating that they want to continue running things their own way.
It is about time that those running football started to impose their authority for the good of everybody in the game, not just at Stamford Bridge.