The John Terry race row saga has escalated still further with the news that victim Anton Ferdinand has received an “extremely graphic” death threat and England boss Fabio Capello has been warned NOT to talk about the case by the Met Police in London.
With the Spain friendly looming at Wembley on Saturday – England have enjoyed crushing the world champions at what they like to call the home of football – Capello opted to pick Terry in his squad last night.
But the Italian “generalissimo” opted to axe Wayne Rooney – who will be suspended for the first three games of Euro 2012 next year – and, ironically, Anton’s brother Rio.
Should the FA and the Met Police decide Terry is guilty of calling QPR’s Anton “a f***ing black c***” – and from what I saw on YouTube before the Premier League removed the footage, he certainly did – Terry will surely be withdrawn from the game.
The FA have run a “Kick It Out” campaign against racism for the past six years and it appears to be working with monkey chants and banana throwing reduced to a tiny minority of moronic fans. From the days of the early 80s when black players were targeted, English football has moved to a more civilised level where black players are barely accused of anything other than blinding talent.
The thought of Terry playing in a prestige friendly at Wembley against the 2010 FIFA world champions is simply not acceptable after his regrettable outburst – and the way he attempted to wriggle out of the situation by getting Ashley Cole to enter the QPR dressing room on October 23, where the Chelsea captain assured Rio’s little brother: “We’re all okay, right?”
Terry then tried to explain his outburst was in response to Ferdinand accusing him of calling him a “fbc”... but Anton has since emerged to insist he did no such thing. The first Anton heard of the racist remark was when friends directed him to the YouTube footage. Ferdinand has since reported his side of the story to the FA and the Met Police have stepped in after a complaint from a member of the public.
But that is not the end of the matter. Chelsea fans in Genk, Belgium last week chanted further racist drivel against Anton and today the Sun and the Daily Telegraph in England reveal an “extremely graphic” death threat delivered by hand to QPR’s Acton training ground last Friday.
Police say Anton, 26, and “members of his close family” must now fit a panic alarms at their homes along with further “immediate precautionary measures”.
The Met are trying to track down the “sicko” who sent the death threat – club officials decided Anton himself should not read the contents.
In a further development – which I also revealed in my regular Monday morning slot on eNews in South Africa yesterday morning – England boss Fabio Capello has been instructed not to comment on the row.
On Saturday, Capello told the Sunday newspapers: “In my experience I have never seen, never heard and never found racism problems in England football. Racist problems between the players do not exist."
But Capello now appears to have been silenced – and the police have also urged Liverpool and Manchester United not to answer questions on the scandalous use of the n-word by Uruguayan Luis Suarez against Patrice Evra a week before the Loftus Road incident.
Amid a growing call to punish racism in sport – particularly after Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie Steve Williams was revealed to have used the words “black arsehole” against the golfer who earned him millions – Terry is likely to be withdrawn from the Spanish inquisition.
But reports suggest the 30-year-old from Barking, no stranger to controversy, will be recalled from the subsequent friendly against Sweden four days later. Terry's team-mate Frank Lampard looks likely to take the captain's armband against Spain - with memories of previous friendlies against the Iberians spoiled by racial chants.