John Terry faces Anton Ferdinand racism trial after Euro finals
England football captain John Terry will stand trial for alleged racist abuse in July, after the final of the European Championship in July.
The Chelsea skipper is alleged to have made racist comments towards Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in a league match on 23 October 2011.
A not guilty plea was entered on Mr Terry's behalf at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
He will now stand trial on 9 July, nine days after Euro 2012.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Mr Terry, 31, is accused of a racially-aggravated public order offence.'Never abused'
Following Wednesday's hearing, the footballer's legal team said in a statement: "Mr Terry looks forward to the opportunity to clear his name.
The fact that Terry will not stand trial until July means he is now free to lead England into the European Championship, the Football Association, along with Chelsea, having made clear it will not suspend him.
However, it also means these serious charges will hang over him for a further five months.
Terry says he does not wish to talk about the case, but you can be sure he will be asked.
Some will worry about the effect this uncertainty will have over on his performances in the summer and the England team's morale.
"Mr Terry denies making any racist statement and will establish in court that he is not guilty of any such offence.
"Mr Terry has never racially abused another player in his entire career.''
Police questioned Mr Terry under caution in November and a file on the matter was sent to the CPS at the beginning of December.
The decision to charge Mr Terry was taken after police received a complaint from a member of the public after the Premier League match at Loftus Road.
The maximum sentence for the offence is a fine of £2,500.
As a summary offence under the Crime and Disorder Act, it will be fully heard in a magistrates' court.