Police begin investigating John Terry racism claim

LONDON (AP) ? Police have begun an investigation into allegations that Chelsea and England captain John Terry taunted an opponent with a racial slur.

Terry is accused of directing the slur at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s 1-0 Premier League loss Oct. 23.

The Metropolitan Police assessed the incident after a complaint by a member of the public last week and has now decided it warrants a full investigation.

“Police were notified of an incident on Sunday October 23 involving alleged racial abuse,” police said in a statement. “This is currently being investigated by officers from Hammersmith and Fulham.”

Terry has said his comments were taken out of context, and denies allegations of racial abuse.

The English Football Association is also investigating the captain of its national team seven months before the start of the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

Ferdinand, who is black, has submitted his account of the incident to the FA and said he has “very strong feelings on the matter.”

The 26-year-old Englishman said he did not want to prejudice the inquiry with a fuller statement until investigations are over. But he has used his Twitter account to repost messages of support and condemnations of racism.

The 30-year-old Terry has said the alleged comments directed at Ferdinand have been taken out of context.

Terry regained the England captaincy from Ferdinand’s older brother Rio Ferdinand in March after being stripped of the armband before the 2010 World Cup over a sex scandal.

Claims Terry had an affair with the former girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge are among a string of off-field transgressions that have followed the player throughout his soccer career, which has been spent entirely at Chelsea.

He was fined by the club after he and three teammates drunkenly abused American guests at a London hotel the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.