John Terry vows to clear his name after racism charge
John Terry has pledged to clear his name after being charged with racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Terry for a racially aggravated public order charge.
"I'll fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence," said the Chelsea defender.
The BBC also understands Terry will not stand aside as England captain and intends, if selected, to lead the side against Netherlands in February.
In a statement, the 31-year-old Terry added: "I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible.
"I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.
"I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society."
Chelsea have already backed Terry. A statement on the club's official website read: "John has made it clear he denies the charge and is determined to do all he can to prove his innocence.
"Chelsea FC has always been fully supportive of John in this matter and will continue to be so.
"The club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and we are proud of the work we undertake campaigning on this important issue.
"Chelsea will not be commenting further on the subject while the legal process runs its course."
After Terry's first hearing at West London Magistrates on 1 February, the case is likely to be adjourned for anything up to 10 weeks.
That could mean the FA is forced to make a decision on Terry's England captaincy ahead of the international friendly against Netherlands at Wembley on 29 February.
The game was re-arranged after being postponed postponed because of the London riots in August.
Former FA chief executive Mark Palios told BBC Radio 5 live that awkward decisions could lie ahead.
"The FA are very keen not to prejudice any proceedings outside of their own processes," he said.
"You have to debate whether making a pre-emptive decision - to remove him from the captaincy or to allow play for England or not - would in terms be prejudicial.
"They'll take advice on that and they'll also have a sensible discussion with Fabio Capello.
"It's a terrible, difficult judgement call to make. People have described it as a moral maze."
The Metropolitan Police assessed the alleged incident involving Terry after a complaint by a member of the public. It then passed its evidence to the CPS for consideration on 1 December.
Ferdinand also submitted an account of the incident to the Football Association, adding that he had "very strong feelings on the matter".
Last week, it emerged prosecutors had asked police for more information regarding the incident.
Despite news of his prosecution, Terry is set to play for Chelsea against Premier League rivals Tottenham on Thursday.
"John has told me he is in the right frame of mind to play," said Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.
"His performances have been good and I don't doubt his integrity as a person. He represents this club to a maximum level and we're very grateful to have a player of his quality in our team, in what he represents in terms of history and achievements a the club.
"We know exactly his human values and personality, so we will support him whatever happens."
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp agreed that off-the-field problems would not affect Terry.
"Nothing seems to have affected his performances on the pitch," said Redknapp. "He can have all the aggro and he comes out and plays. He just seems to be the same.
"I remember the problem Leeds had [when Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate were charged with grievous bodily harm in 2001]. Bowyer was coming out of court, playing in European games and being the best player. Woodgate was in bits. He couldn't handle anything. It just affects people differently."
Former Chelsea player Pat Nevin, now a pundit for BBC Radio 5 live, added: "Throughout his career, John Terry has played in some extraordinary situations, under all kinds of pressure, and come through it.
"As a footballer, you seek sanctuary on the pitch. It's the one place where you can get away from it all. He will be fine."
Meanwhile, Tottenham have warned fans about the use of inappropriate language ahead of the match against the Blues and revealed that stewards at White Hart Lane will wear head-mounted cameras to monitor any abuse.
"A reminder to all fans, both home and away, that foul, abusive, homophobic or racist language will not be tolerated at White Hart Lane," read a statement on the club's website.
"The club will take action against anyone heard using such language.
"Stewards will again wear headcams at Thursday's match and will adopt a zero-tolerance policy.
"Once again, we call upon our fans to behave in a manner which does not bring the club into disrepute and of which we can be proud."