UK & World News
John Terry At Wembley For Racism Hearing
Former England captain John Terry has been giving evidence to an FA hearing into claims he racially abused an opponent, just hours after announcing his retirement from international football.
The Chelsea defender denies using a racial slur against Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, who has left the hearing at Wembley after giving his version of events.
Proceedings are expected to last at least two days. Terry was found not guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court in July.
But the 31-year-old issued a statement on Sunday evening revealing he was making himself unavailable for selection by England.
The statement said: "I am making this statement today (Sunday) 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."
England manager Roy Hodgson said: "I am of course disappointed to lose a player of John's international experience and exceptional ability.
"I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager and I reluctantly accept his decision."
Speaking to Sky Sports News on his way into FA headquarters at Wembley this morning, FA general secretary Alex Horne suggested he was mystified by the move.
"It's a personal decision. I don't see how we've made it untenable, they're two very separate processes," he said.
"It limits Roy's options. It's something that happened in a match - it shouldn't be taking a year to resolve but we feel we're reaching a conclusion on that.
"That's a very different process from our England procedures, they sit in different compartments and I could separate the two in my mind, but it doesn't look like he could."
Although Terry was cleared in the court trial, the Football Association requires a lower burden of proof.
He could face a lengthy ban for his club if found guilty and many observers believe England would have had little choice but to drop him indefinitely.
He had been stripped of the captaincy while he awaited his court trial, but was allowed to continue playing for England.
Sky News Correspondent Enda Brady, who is at Wembley, said: "It's intriguing the timing of it, because John Terry has known about this FA charge for all of two months.
"He was quite happy to play for England in that recent World Cup qualifier against Moldova. There was no indication there was any problem, that his international career was coming to an end and then, suddenly, this announcement last night (Sunday).
"If you were to look at this quite cynically, you could assume that here is John Terry perhaps jumping from the international ship before the Football Association have the opportunity to push him from it."
Terry is understood to have telephoned England manager Roy Hodgson to inform him of his decision to quit before releasing his statement.
Hodgson had repeatedly made it clear he wanted Terry in his squad as England try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Terry was capped 78 times after making his debut against Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.
He was named captain by Fabio Capello in 2008 but lost the position in 2010 over allegations of an affair with the partner of former teammate Wayne Bridge.
He was handed the armband again in 2011 before the 14-strong FA board stripped it from him in February.
"Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour," he said in his statement.
"I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision."