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John Terry will face criminal charges over his alleged racist comments towards Anton Ferdinand.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced this afternoon that they have authorised his prosecution.

Terry will appear before West London Magistrates’ Court on February 1. He has been recommended for prosecution for ‘a racially aggravated public order offence.’

Reacting to the news, Terry said: ‘I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible.

‘I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.

‘I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence. I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society.’

The case will not go to the Crown Court and the maximum punishment available is a fine of £2,500

‘I have today advised the Metropolitan Police Service that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments allegedly made during a Premier League football match between Queen’s Park Rangers and Chelsea,’ said Alison Saunders, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London.

‘The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all the evidence I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.

‘He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial.’

The England captain has denied racially abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender during the Barclays Premier League match on October 23.

Terry is alleged to have called Ferdinand a ‘f******* black c***’ in last month’s defeat at QPR.

Terry has been interviewed by the police, as have a number of witnesses, and the CPS will decide if there is the evidence, which includes extensive video footage supplied by Sky, to bring charges.

Terry is supported by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, and the Football Association have allowed him to remain England captain, agreeing with boss Fabio Capello he should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The FA will complete their inquiry into the incident once the police investigation is concluded.

After the announcement, a Chelsea statement read: ‘Chelsea Football Club today received notification that the Crown Prosecution Service has charged John Terry with a racially aggravated public order offence.

‘John has made it clear he denies the charge and is determined to do all he can to prove his innocence. Chelsea FC has always been fully supportive of John in this matter and will continue to be so.

‘The club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and we are proud of the work we undertake campaigning on this important issue. Chelsea will not be commenting further on the subject while the legal process runs its course.’

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