London – The issue of racism continues to plague the world of soccer.
In the most recent case, Chelsea captain John Terry was banned for four matches for racially abusing an opponent.
The former England captain was fined $356,000 by the English Football Association for abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game in October 2011.
Both sanctions are on hold pending appeal. Terry was punished by the FA despite being cleared by a criminal court in July of a racially aggravated public order offense.
The FA hearing had a lower burden of proof.
Before his FA hearing Monday, Terry announced his retirement from international soccer after nine years with England.
He is the second Premier League player in a year to be banned for racism. Liverpool striker, Uruguayan Luis Suárez, was banned eight matches for abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
The full reasons for the FA's verdict are yet to be released, but the panel said Terry used "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior ... which included a reference to color and/or race."
Terry is considering whether to appeal, and the sanctions are on hold until then.
"Mr. Terry is disappointed that the FA Regulatory Commission has reached a different conclusion to the clear not guilty verdict of a court of law," Terry's management team said in a statement. "He has asked for the detailed written reasons of the decision and will consider them carefully before deciding whether to lodge an appeal."
Chelsea said the club "respects" the verdict but it would be "inappropriate" to comment further before any appeal.
Fabio Capello quit as England coach in February in protest at the FA's decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy before the trial.
In the criminal court case, Terry did not deny using an offensive term during the match at QPR but said all he did was sarcastically repeat the words he was accused of using.
Ferdinand said he had been goading Terry about his alleged extramarital affair with the former girlfriend of ex-England teammate Wayne Bridge.
The magistrate described Terry's defense as being "under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely," but found there was not enough evidence to prove he was lying.
The FA said in its Suárez verdict last year that his guilt did not depend on whether he "intended his words to be abusive or insulting," with the use of a racial slur during a match enough to convict the Uruguay international.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.