Sven Goran Eriksson has leapt to the defense of Chelsea captain John Terry, suggesting both the FA and the civil courts have handled their respective cases against the former England international in a "miserable" way.
The 31-year-old defender was cleared of using racist language against Anton Ferdinand by Westminster Magistrates' Court in July this year, but the FA subsequently brought its own investigation and slapped him with a four-game ban and a 220,000-pound fine for using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior in reference to Anton Ferdinand.
Eriksson believes Terry should face punishment if he did express racist language, but he insisted the whole incident has been handled poorly
"It is obvious John should be punished if he’s expressed himself so inappropriately," Eriksson told reporters. "I refuse to believe [Terry] is a racist. What makes me upset is the FA punishment has come after a year. I honestly think the FA – and civil courts – have handled it in a miserable way."
Terry quit the England national team on Wednesday night before the FA concluded its case on Thursday, with Eriksson suggesting Terry did so to protest the possible guilty verdict.
Terry is still deciding whether to appeal the FA's verdict, and he will not be banned until either he accepts the decision or the 14-day appeal window expires.
Failing that, he could take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, although the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson have suggested that he is "lucky" to have escaped with a four-match ban, considering Luis Suarez received an eight-game ban last season for using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behavior towards Patrice Evra.