LONDON (AP) — English soccer authorities and London police began investigations Tuesday into whether England captain John Terry racially abused a black opponent while playing for Chelsea.
In the latest contentious episode of Terry’s career, video posted on the Internet appeared to show Terry directing a racial slur at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during Sunday’s game.
QPR assessed the matter for two days before turning to The English Football Association.
The FA said in a statement it has received a “complaint relating to an alleged incident of racist abuse” during the game and will look into it. The Metropolitan Police also said it was “notified of an incident” that is being “assessed.”
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes said “we will provide our players with our unequivocal support when alleged incidents like this occur.”
Terry said the phrase the footage appeared to show him saying was being taken out of context.
“I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him,” he said after the match. “I responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term.”
After the FA investigation was opened, Terry released a statement saying he welcomed the inquiry and looked forward “to clearing my name as soon as possible.”
The complaint came during English soccer’s anti-racism week, which highlights the progress made since abuse marred the game in the 1970s and ’80s. And it came just a week after the FA started an investigation into whether Liverpool striker Luis Suarez racially abused Manchester United’s black defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League game.
“This is worrying and potentially very damaging,” said Herman Ouseley, chairman of English soccer’s anti-racism group, Kick It Out. “What happens at the top end of the game has an impact at grass-roots level and at parks pitches across the country.”
The issue could again throw into question Terry’s suitability as England captain. He regained the armband only this year after being stripped of it by England manager Fabio Capello in February 2010. He allegedly had an affair with the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, then his teammate with Chelsea and the national team.
Rio Ferdinand, the older brother of Anton and Terry’s longtime defense partner for England, took over as captain only to relinquish the position 13 months later.
Terry also was fined by the club after he and three teammates drunkenly abused American guests at a hotel the day after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.