• England news

Hodgson criticised for 'foolish' Terry comments

ESPN staff
August 15, 2012
Roy Hodgson said he hoped John Terry was cleared by the FA © PA Photos

England coach Roy Hodgson has been criticised by a leading anti-racism campaigner after saying he hoped the FA cleared John Terry of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, meaning he would be available to play for England.

Terry was found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence by Westminster Magistrates Court last month. The incident took place during a match between QPR and Chelsea at Loftus Road in October.

The FA has since ruled that the Chelsea skipper has a case to answer and could therefore face a lengthy ban. Reports suggest the FA hearing will take place next month - something that would put Terry in doubt for England's first four World Cup qualifiers.

Hodgson, who expressed reluctance to discuss the matter ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Italy, has declared his intention to select Terry unless the defender receives a significant suspension.

He said: "I'm hoping, and I make no secret of that, the case will take its course, that John, hopefully, will be freed as he was freed in a court of law, and will carry on playing for England.

"That's my hope. What will happen, I have no idea. As a member of the FA, it's a sub judice situation and I'm not prepared to say any more."

Piara Powar, the director of Football Against Racism, said Hodgson's remarks were "foolish" and "not helpful to the process the FA has undertaken in any way".

He said: "The England manager is employed by the FA, who have a dual role in running the national team and being the governing body.

"Whatever support Roy Hodgson wants to give to a member of his squad, he also has to remember the FA's wider role. For the England coach to go public with his view like this calls into question that dual function."

Powar said the FA could have benefited from putting out a statement about the long-running situation, "explaining what was happening and how long it was likely to take because, the way it is going on, it risks people getting fed up with the situation".

He added that his "primary concern with this case is that justice is done", saying: "That comes above any expediency within the decision-making process. There has been a criminal case involved here, and no doubt the FA are carrying out their own investigations."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.