Note para 4 of the decision for a point relating to the applicable standard of proof in the FA's hearing.
Footballer John Terry has been found guilty of misconduct by an Independent Regulatory Commission - see the announcement on the FA website. Mr Terry has rights of appeal and will, no doubt, await the Commission's written findings before taking further advice and making a decision.
The Regulatory Commission has authority in these matters because of the Football Association's Rules and Regulations. See also Rules of the Association and Laws of the Game.
The Football Association charged Mr Terry on Friday 27 July 2012 with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.
Rule E3 states:
At first sight, it can look odd that Mr Terry can be acquitted in a court of law but found guilty by a professional tribunal. However, a number of points need to be borne in mind: the different nature of the charges and, secondly, the standards of proof required.
The charges ~
Standards of Proof ~
The "golden thread" of English criminal law is that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the defendant and this must be done to the high criminal standard of proof. Mr Terry was acquitted by District Judge (Chief Magistrate) Howard Riddle - see the earlier blogpost on Terry's acquittal. A further post related to Criminal Cases - Burden and Standard of Proof.
The Magistrates' Court was dealing with a criminal offence defined in statute law. The FA charges are a disciplinary matter. Even though they arise from the same factual event, the difference is considerable. Further, the criminal matter has to be proved to a very high standard whereas a lower standard of proof applies to the disciplinary matter. Consequently, the acquittal of Mr Terry on the criminal case and the finding of the Disciplinary Commission are not necessarily inconsistent.
Mr Terry has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision. The penalty imposed by the Commission is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Terry decide not to appeal.