Football Association board member Heather Rabbatts is adamant John Terry’s removal as England captain was “the right decision for the good of the game”.
Terry will stand trial in July, after Euro 2012, over allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during October’s Barclays Premier League meeting between the two sides.
The issue led to him being stood down as national team captain for the second time in his career, a decision taken at the first FA board meeting since Rabbatts was added to the board.
Terry has not been found guilty of an offence and strenuously denies the charge he faces, and Rabbatts acknowledged in the Daily Telegraph: “The principle of innocent until proven guilty is absolutely paramount.
“But in other walks of life, if an employee who carries additional reputational responsibilities is subject to charges, they are suspended.
“Given the FA’s policies and priorities, and given the reputation that the England captain has to stand by, it was not appropriate for him to be captain. I think the board, and in particular the chairman (David Bernstein), showed leadership. It is a decision the board can stand by.
“You make the right decisions for the right reasons. Ultimately what it comes back to is leadership, and the chairman and this board making the right decisions for the good of the game. We stand by it, and we move forward.”
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez served an eight-game ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in another high-profile case. The Anfield club’s defiant stance throughout that saga drew widespread criticism, which Rabbatts saw as indicative of a determination to drive racism out of the game.
“Liverpool found themselves a lone voice, and that fact says it all,” she continued.
“But the reaction to Suarez and other incidents demonstrates how committed many millions of fans are to stamp this out.”
Despite that, incidents have persisted both in this country and abroad.
An arrest was made after Oldham’s Tom Adeyemi took offence to something shouted from the Kop during the Carling Cup clash at Anfield, and another after Rangers pair Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley were racially abused on Twitter.
Manchester City issued a complaint to UEFA after Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli were seemingly the target of monkey chants from Porto fans, while their team-mate Micah Richards was another to face abuse on Twitter.
QPR striker Djibril Cisse reacted angrily after he too was racially abused on the social networking site, seemingly by supporters of former club Lazio.
And Rabbatts said: “Social media is a fantastic way of connecting to people, but some black players are being racially abused because people think they are anonymous on Twitter. The chants on the terraces are not replaced by abuse on social media, but it is creeping in. You can’t stop moving because it changes.”