Former England captain John Terry unexpectedly quit international football yesterday before he was due to face a Football Association hearing on a racism charge, saying his place in the team had become "untenable".
Despite being cleared in court of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last year, Terry was facing a lengthy ban if found guilty by an FA panel this week.
"I am today announcing my retirement from international football ... I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision," Terry said.
The 31-year-old Chelsea defender was fired as England captain in February, but was allowed to con-tinue playing for the national team.
"I am making this statement today 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," Terry said.
Terry has no plans to stop playing for the club at which he has spent his entire career.
"I now look forward to playing for Chelsea FC and challenging for domestic and European honours," he said. "And I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support."
But the FA could still ban Terry for eight club matches, the punishment Liverpool striker Luis Suarez received last year for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in a game.