Premier League

Ferdinand blasts Twitter abusers

FIGHTING BACK
Anton Ferdinand has spoken out on the John Terry racism saga, hitting out at Twitter abusers....
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Anton Ferdinand has broken his silence after John Terry was found guilty of using racist language towards him, declaring: "Footage don't lie."

Ferdinand took to Twitter to respond to abuse he claimed to have received on the social media site since Terry was handed a four-match ban and a £220,000 fine by an independent Football Association panel over the pair's altercation in a match at Loftus Road almost a year ago.

The QPR defender tweeted: "On a serious note people need 2 read the facts before they send stupid tweets 2 me with liar and grass in it footage don't lie."

Ferdinand's tweet seemed to refer to the video footage that appeared to show Chelsea captain Terry using the words "f****** black c***" towards him during last October's west London derby.

Terry was cleared in July by Westminster Magistrates Court of uttering the words as an insult.

But that did not prevent him being found guilty of a similar charge under FA rules on Thursday, with the FA charge relating to whether or not he had used the words at all irrespective of context.

Terry, who has always denied all charges against him, was still deciding today whether to appeal that verdict and indicated yesterday he would wait until he was in receipt of the written judgment before making that decision.

Chelsea refused to answer questions on Terry's ban at their press conference this afternoon to preview Saturday's Premier League game at Arsenal.

Head of communications Steve Atkins made that clear in a statement beforehand, insisting the club did not want to prejudice any appeal.

That did not prevent manager Roberto Di Matteo being quizzed on the subject, but Atkins repeatedly interjected, most notably when the Italian was asked about the club's policy on players found guilty of using racist language.

Di Matteo did confirm that Terry was fit and available for tomorrow's match and would continue to captain the club if picked.

He revealed Terry had trained today and yesterday, that he had spoken to the 31-year-old, and that he had no fear about the player's mental state or how he would react to abuse he might suffer tomorrow and beyond.

"He trained well today, as hard as always," Di Matteo said.

"He's an experienced player who has played many difficult games before, in difficult circumstances and environments.

"If selected, I don't think there will be a problem."

Di Matteo felt the same about the possibility of an adverse reaction from Terry's team-mates to yesterday's verdict, saying: "Well, there isn't any, no, as far as I know and as far as I can see."

Terry's career has been one of defiance in the face of adversity but asked whether this was his biggest test, Di Matteo said: "He still has many years to play to come. I don't know what the future will hold.

"He likes to focus on the football, and that's all I have to be concerned about."

Di Matteo also shrugged off what the outside world might think of Chelsea in the wake of the Terry verdict.

"We don't really care too much the way the outside environment sees us," he said.

"We have to focus on our strength. That's the way we operate."

Terry quit England on the eve of this week's hearing, accusing the FA of making his position "untenable".

Di Matteo said: "I know that John loved playing for England. It was his childhood dream. It was a very difficult decision for him to take.

"When he wants to discuss the reasons, I'll leave that to him."

He added: "It certainly increases the chance to play a bit longer when you don't play internationally."

Di Matteo did admit he felt the case had dragged on for too long, saying: "Everybody would have liked it to be a bit quicker."

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