Chelsea and England captain John Terry will not face trial over alleged racial abuse to QPR defender Anton Ferdinand until after Euro 2012 on July 9.
The 31-year-old faces trial after the Crown Prosecution Service deemed their enough evidence to hand the defender a 'racially aggravated public order offense' over comments made during the Blues 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road in October.
Terry did not attend the hearing which took place at West London Magistrates’ Court, instead allowing his barrister George Carter-Stephenson QC to enter his not-guilty plea.
Speaking after today's hearing, Terry's lawyer said: "Terry has consistently & resolutely maintained [that] remarks were made in...belief that he was being accused of racist abuse.
"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."
The row was sparked after video footage appeared online allegedly showing the center back using racially-motivated language towards the former Sunderland man, and Terry has since revealed his intention to fight 'tooth and nail' to prove his innocence.
If found guilty he could be fined 2,500 pounds but the impact to his reputation would be far worse after he was only reinstated as captain of the national team in March last year after a series of allegations - most notably about a supposed affair with the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge – were put into the public sphere.
However, any charge would no longer affect England's plans for Euro 2012 with the final of the tournament taking place on July 1, more than week before Terry will stand trial.
Terry went up against Ferdinand again last Saturday but to avoid controversy the usual prematch handshakes between the two sides was scrapped.
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