Chelsea captain John Terry was banned for four matches yesterday for racially abusing an opponent in English football's most high-profile racism case.
The former England captain was also fined £220,000 (US$356,000) for abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October 2011.
Terry was found guilty of directing abuse at Ferdinand by the Football Association. He was cleared by a criminal court in July of a racially aggravated public order offence.
Before the four-day FA disciplinary hearing started, Terry announced his retirement from international football on Sunday after nine years with England. The case led to Fabio Capello quitting as England coach in February in protest at the FA's decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy before the trial.
The full reasons for the FA's verdict are yet to be released, but the panel said Terry used "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour ... which included a reference to colour and/or race".
Terry is considering whether to appeal, and the sanctions are on hold until then.
"Mr Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law," Terry's management team said in a statement. "He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal."
Chelsea said the club "respects" the verdict but it would be "inappropriate" to comment further before any appeal.
In the criminal court case, Terry did not deny using an offensive term during the match at QPR but said all he did was sarcastically repeat the words he was accused of using.
Ferdinand said he had been goading Terry about his alleged extramarital affair with the former girlfriend of ex-England teammate Wayne Bridge.
The magistrate described Terry's defence as being "under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely," but found there was not enough evidence to prove he was lying.
The FA hearing, though, had a lower burden of proof.
Terry is the second Premier League player in a year to be banned by the FA for racism. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during another game last October.
The FA said in its Suarez verdict last year that his guilt did not depend on whether he "intended his words to be abusive or insulting," with the use of a racial slur during a match enough to convict the Uruguay international.
In this Saturday, September 15, 2012 file photo, Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand (left) is marked by Chelsea's John Terry as Chelsea defend a corner during their English Premier League match at Loftus Road stadium, London. The English Football Association banned Chelsea captain John Terry for four matches yesterday for racially abusing an opponent. The former England captain was also fined £220,000 (US$356,000) for abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October 2011. - AP