England & Chelsea defender John Terry retires from international football

John Terry has quit the England team, hours before the start of his hearing over the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand.

Terry made the decision after becoming convinced that the Football Association are determined to find him guilty of the offence, with the hearing due to begin officially in a London hotel on Monday morning.

The 31-year-old said in a statement: ‘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.

‘Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I wish Roy and the team every success for the future.’

The Chelsea defender’s relationship with the governing body has deteriorated to such an extent he felt unable to continue as an England player.

He has felt increasingly isolated by the FA’s stance in recent weeks and there have been several days of legal argument that have convinced him his position is untenable.

It is understood the FA’s failure to acknowledge their rule 6.8 — which says the outcome and evidence of any civil or criminal court trial should be regarded as the correct version of events — was the final straw for Terry.

He had hoped the hearing would be abandoned on these grounds but, on finding out that it would be proceeding, decided he could no longer play for England.

Terry was found not guilty in back in July, which prompted the FA to open their own hearing. Their charge includes an alleged ‘reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand’ and they only have to prove their case ‘on the balance of probabilities’ to find him guilty.

His England career lasted nine years, and he won the first of his 78 caps in a friendly against Hungary in June 2003.