Chelsea captain, John Terry, has been found not guilty of racially abusing an opposing player during an English Premier League match last October.
Terry was accused of calling Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand a “black c**t” during their heated exchange of insults in the game’s last minutes.
The 31-year-old denied the allegations, explaining that he only used an offensive term sarcastically to counter the obscenity Ferdinand was saying to him.
All the possible evidence was examined during the four days of hearings at a court in London before chief magistrate, Howard Riddle, decided that Terry was not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offense.
"It is highly unlikely that Mr. Ferdinand accused Mr. Terry on the pitch of calling him a black [expletive]," Judge Riddle wrote in his judgment. "However I accept that it is possible that Mr. Terry believed at the time, and believes now, that such an accusation was made.”
"The prosecution evidence as to what was said by Mr. Ferdinand at this point is not strong. Mr. [Ashley] Cole [the Chelsea defender] gives corroborating (although far from compelling corroborating) evidence on this point. It is therefore possible that what he said was not intended as an insult, but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him," he concluded.
Riddle also found words to praised Ferdinand, calling his arrival in court for at the trail “a brave” act.
Prosecutors have accepted the ruling by the judge.
"The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was one of racial abuse," Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London, said. "It was our view that this was not 'banter' on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court. The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr. Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence he acquitted Mr. Terry of a racially aggravated offense."
The case cost a lot to English football as the FA stripped Terry of his captaincy in the national squad, which led to the departure of coach, Fabio Capello, who disagreed with the decision.