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Why FA’s Uncertainty Needs Questioning


Dorset
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Certainty. It is the one missing factor, the lack of it being the one massive flaw in FA findings in the John Terry case and it should have told every right-thinking person on that deliberating panel to accept the earlier findings of a court of law and acquit. Sadly, there has been little right-thinking going on at the FA for some considerable time now and this Commission was never about to be an exception to their speculative rule. Certainties are thin on the ground down at Soho Square, just as they are at any organisation’s headquarters where the need to rely on them, when making judgements, is totally unnecessary due to inherent, unswerving belief in a balance of probability theory that allows you to do exactly as you please without fear of retribution.

However, when the ignoring of certainty in this way can possibly be challenged it should be and this is the primary reason why the club, on behalf of three employees now impugned by the FA, have to take this matter further. In fact, certainties abound in this case and almost all of them need to be put to an FA representative in the form of questioning at Appeal, or, if this is not acceptable, as the FA are not deemed to be in the dock, then the Court of Arbitration for Sport has to be called upon to put them there. Indeed, we can say the following with every degree of certainty:-

1. Only one person has been [unequivocally] shown to have lied in this case - Anton Ferdinand, who originally claimed he did not abuse JT in any way and then rescinded when video evidence proved otherwise. The FA chose not to use this retraction, this inconvenient truth, to cast doubt on Ferdinand’s later evidence (he lied once etc) preferring to ignore the certainty and instead take a balance of probability view to extreme (JT’s foul on Sanchez) effectively calling him a liar and his evidence untrustworthy, even though he, as Ferdinand had done in the actuality, admitted his mistake. One law for one and not the other, albeit that the use of the word ’law’ is seemingly inappropriate where the FA is concerned.

2. The FA taped all their interviews, it is a standard procedure apparently, but unaccountably mislaid their tape recorder when they interviewed Ashley, necessitating a couple of their employees to take notes after the interview and cobble together a statement which he was then requested to sign. He declined, asking to change parts of it, and was supported in his actions by David Barnard, who later confirmed what was said in the interview. The certainty here is FA incompetence, which was at a level that would have seen every last shred of this evidence thrown out of a court of law, yet later on in this safe, surreal sanctum known as Probability World, it forms the basis of the ‘fresh findings’ used to ensnare Barnard and blacken his character along with that of our fullback.

3. Again relating to these written notes, the FA originally failed to submit them to the police in the criminal case because they had been [supposedly] mislaid. How convenient, then, that they should be subsequently found and made available for the hearing (I suppose, on the balance of probabilities, they were always likely to materialise) just in time to be hailed as ’new evidence’ critical to the case against JT. Here the certainty has to be FA contrivance at its worst and heaven knows what a court of law and its need for probity would have made of their eventual Machiavellian musings!

4. In their report the FA Commission made great play of the fact that the magistrate cast doubt on JT’s version of events in his closing statement - an uncertainty, you might say, that provided the bare bones upon which they have decorously hung the discredited king’s ’new’ condemnatory clothes. Except you can, if you look hard enough, see right through them, so flimsy was the magistrate’s corollary to an eventual acquittal. Try as they might, the FA cannot ignore the much more categoric and praiseworthy certainty in the magistrate’s summation - he described JT as ’a credible witness’. He wasn’t credible in parts. He wasn’t credible, probably. He was CREDIBLE. So how did the FA get around that little credibility issue? Well, if you take the time to read the report, as I’ve done, you will see the opening gambit to their written demolition job on JT, which reads as follows…

“Leaving aside the description of Terry as a credible witness…â€

Yep, that is the sort of thing you can do at the FA when the fancy takes you or the Kick It Out campaigners kick up a stink - set aside those certainties and anything that might contradict the verdict you want to reach, just concentrate on the probabilities and that way you’ll have a good case, an unanswerable case, a concocted case that brooks no argument and doesn’t have to listen to any. Then again, maybe this case might be forced to listen to reason eventually and the Court of Arbitration for Sport might just be its final resting place. I do hope so.

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Certainty. It is the one missing factor, the lack of it being the one massive flaw in FA findings in the John Terry case and it should have told every right-thinking person on that deliberating panel to accept the earlier findings of a court of law and acquit.

Actually, it's the certainty in the FA report that is quite scary, in my opinion:

Here are a few choice quotes i picked out last Friday:

Quote

We are driven to conclude not just that it is “highly unlikely†that Mr. Ferdinand accused Mr. Terry on the pitch of calling him a “black c**tâ€, but that he did not.

Quote

Mr. Terry did not hear, and could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Mr. Ferdinand to have used the word „black‟, or any word(s) that might have suggested that he was accusing Mr. Terry of racially abusing him.

Quote

Mr. Cole did not hear, and could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Mr. Ferdinand to have used the word „black‟ or any other word beginning with the word „B‟ that had any reference to, or context with, skin colour, race or ethnicity.

They are certain that AF is telling the truth that he made no accusation towards JT. They are certain purely because AF told them he didn't.

They are certain, therefore, that JT heard no such accusation. They are certain that JT could not have thought he had heard an accusation from AF.

They are certain Ashley lied on oath in his testimony.

They are certain the two players, with Barnard's assistance, conspired to concoct an untrue story.

I would hope that any proper court would find that these certainties do not stand up.

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Backbiter, the magistrate concluded that AF did not accuse JT of calling him a FBC.

In fact, IIRC, JT himself accepted that AF hadn't accused him of that, merely that he thought he had at the time.

Also, in terms of the wording of the report, they are not saying they are "certain", they are saying they are "driven to conclude", which, as far as a court of law is concerned, would get them off the hook.

Certainly their apparent certainty is what shocked me most, and the reason, quite clearly, for their apparent certainty is their own rulebook, article 6.8 in fact, which states that they have to accept the court's verdict unless there is clear and compelling evidence for them not to. Without their "certainty" of Terry's guilt, based on this "clear and compelling" evidence (Ashley Cole's "alteration"), they would be suggesting that this evidence wasn't clear and compelling at all and therefore they would be breaking their own rules.

Had the case not gone to court, I'm sure the report would have betrayed less certainty, and Terry would have been banned for 4 games for breaching their rules, while the report stated he may well have been telling the truth. This is where the court trial actually became a huge disadvantage for JT and Ashley, for the acquittal ensured the report would be a lot more brutal, to protect the FA's position.

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Surely, Stuart Ripley must be embarrassed to be part of this report, I mean he's a qualified solicitor, the blatant disregard of the law must be shocking to him!

Edit: Strange choice of ex-player actually Stuart Ripley, who played in the Chelsea- Boro Play off final that kicked off at Stamford Bridge, so I doubt he has the highest regard for Chelsea!

Edited by shedpensioner
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2. The FA taped all their interviews, it is a standard procedure apparently, but unaccountably mislaid their tape recorder when they interviewed Ashley, necessitating a couple of their employees to take notes after the interview and cobble together a statement which he was then requested to sign. He declined, asking to change parts of it, and was supported in his actions by David Barnard, who later confirmed what was said in the interview. The certainty here is FA incompetence, which was at a level that would have seen every last shred of this evidence thrown out of a court of law, yet later on in this safe, surreal sanctum known as Probability World, it forms the basis of the ‘fresh findings’ used to ensnare Barnard and blacken his character along with that of our fullback.

3. Again relating to these written notes, the FA originally failed to submit them to the police in the criminal case because they had been [supposedly] mislaid. How convenient, then, that they should be subsequently found and made available for the hearing (I suppose, on the balance of probabilities, they were always likely to materialise) just in time to be hailed as ’new evidence’ critical to the case against JT. Here the certainty has to be FA contrivance at its worst and heaven knows what a court of law and its need for probity would have made of their eventual Machiavellian musings!

By god you're a good writer Dorset. Points 2 and 3 for me are your strongest, and the club should certainly look at them very closely.

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Perhaps Barnard should take action against the FA for blackening his character...Although I feel that we are all howling at the moon over this, it reminds me a bit of the Tom Henning Ovrebo thing, instead of questioning the fitness of the ref in that game, the vast majority of our media thought it was better to be outraged by Drogbas outrage...Part of me would love the club to take this further, but another part of me wonders if its worth the aggro, I daresay the FA are banking on the club not wanting to draw this out too...

Thank God for Martin Samuels and Rod Liddle, because some of the guff I've read/heard from certain sections of the press/tv have been actually nauseating. I think Ashley Cole has come in for more stick this week than Jimmy Saville, which is ironic as it has been pointed out, he is the only one in this sorry saga, who it can be proved has been racially insulted...

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Backbiter, the magistrate concluded that AF did not accuse JT of calling him a FBC.

In fact, IIRC, JT himself accepted that AF hadn't accused him of that, merely that he thought he had at the time.

This is true, but they state JT "could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Mr. Ferdinand to have used the word „black‟ "

Also, in terms of the wording of the report, they are not saying they are "certain", they are saying they are "driven to conclude", which, as far as a court of law is concerned, would get them off the hook.

I take your point about the wording 'driven to conclude that is presumably meant to apply to all of the statements I quoted, not just the first.

Certainly their apparent certainty is what shocked me most, and the reason, quite clearly, for their apparent certainty is their own rulebook, article 6.8 in fact, which states that they have to accept the court's verdict unless there is clear and compelling evidence for them not to. Without their "certainty" of Terry's guilt, based on this "clear and compelling" evidence (Ashley Cole's "alteration"), they would be suggesting that this evidence wasn't clear and compelling at all and therefore they would be breaking their own rules.

Had the case not gone to court, I'm sure the report would have betrayed less certainty, and Terry would have been banned for 4 games for breaching their rules, while the report stated he may well have been telling the truth. This is where the court trial actually became a huge disadvantage for JT and Ashley, for the acquittal ensured the report would be a lot more brutal, to protect the FA's position.

You are spot-on in your reasoning as to why they had to reach the findings they did or else be unable to justify hearing the case at all. As Dorset says:

relating to these written notes, the FA originally failed to submit them to the police in the criminal case because they had been [supposedly] mislaid. How convenient, then, that they should be subsequently found and made available for the hearing (I suppose, on the balance of probabilities, they were always likely to materialise) just in time to be hailed as ’new evidence’ critical to the case against JT

It makes you wonder, if JT had never been taken to court, whether the FA would have found these notes in time for the hearing that would presumably have taken place within a few weeks of the QPR game.

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Echoing Patrick Collin's description of the FA report as a "meticulously argued judgement", Henry Winter (yes him again, sorry) today said that anyone who'd read the written report could not fail but agree with the conclusions reached by the FA (or words to that effect) and that John Terry would be a fool to challenge what Henry Winter regards as an open and shut case... as proved by the written report.

This is the same Henry Winter, remember, who referred to John Terry and Ashley Cole as "Chelsea's toxic twins" and who described "Anton Ferdinand as the innocent victim in all this". I'm sure the Guardian, with their implication that "only racists and Intellectual Neanderthals" would dare disagree with this self-same "meticulously argued judgement" would be in full agreement with both Henry Winter and Patrick Collins. Well so be it. A racist I am not, but if disagreeing with the FA's blatantly agenda driven pre-judgement of the John Terry case makes me an Intellectual Neanderthal, then an Intellectual Neanderthal is what I am.

Edited by Tommy Docherty
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If there's no trial, Terry gets charged by the FA and receives a 4 match ban, for breaching their rules, given that he can't prove the context in which he said those words.

If there is a trial and Terry is found guilty, the FA charge Terry and he receives a 4 match ban. Simples.

If there is a trial and Terry is acquitted, the FA have a problem on their hands, because they have determined they have to punish Terry, due to there being too much at stake for them, and given Suarez had been punished.

How will they solve this problem, given article 6.8 of their own rulebook states they have to agree with the magistrate? They will need "clear and compelling" evidence that the judge wasn't privy to.

Lo and behold they have this "clear and compelling" evidence, in the form of notes which were lost for the whole duration of the trial, therefore they can claim these notes may have made the judge arrive at a different verdict.

Amazing that they lose these notes, don't you think? They lost the notes. Think about that a moment. Had there been no court case, they wouldn't have needed the notes, as they could have found Terry guilty of breaching their rules. Had there been a guilty verdict in court, they wouldn't need the notes, because the guilty verdict would have been presumed to be correct, according to their own rulebook. They would only need the notes if Terry was acquitted, and guess what, they miraculously appeared. Incredible.

Incidentally, those notes wouldn't have changed the court verdict at all and they know it. The judge did not base his verdict on Cole's testimony, he made that plain. By stating it however, the FA are justifying holding the inquiry, and ensuring they can't be accused of breaking their own rules.

It's amazing that nobody has brought this up in the press. The whole thing stinks.

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Fantastic OP, and thread, great read. I really do hope this goes to the CoAS as SURELY there is enough likelihood that there are too many loopholes, and too many unjustified reasons as to why this outcome has been reached that this will be overturned by the CoAS and the FA are rightfully made to look stupid.

Edited by jc_cfc
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My overall feeling towards this whole case at the moment is forget it and move on. Why? Because in the end JT said something he should have not said. Was it racist or not I don't know but he should have kept his mouth shut and get on with the game. He should know better. I can easily see why he said anything in the first place; we were losing and down to 10 or 9 men at that point and in a derby.

JT also kneeled himself a red card in the Barca game which is an indicator of his behavior inside a football game. That was lunatic. Stupid thing.

He plays his heart on his sleeve and that is why he is so good but it can spill over and in these two cases it did just that. If it spills you live with the consequences.

JT will act on this if he truly wants to clear his name. I don't think he is a racist and apart from AF don't seem to think that way either. How can he be? He is the "leader" of such an ethnic workplace.

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JT also kneeled himself a red card in the Barca game which is an indicator of his behavior inside a football game. That was lunatic. Stupid thing.

Argued like the FA. Ignore his 600+ games with about only 4 red cards (Whilst CONSTANTLY being abused and insulted), look at the barca game and say 'that is his behaviour'?? How is that fair

Edited by Stim
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Argued like the FA. Ignore his 600+ games with about only 4 red cards (Whilst CONSTANTLY being abused and insulted), look at the barca game and say 'that is his behaviour'?? How is that fair

I'm trying to see why this has gone to the point it is. Look from their point of view. We are far from being objective and I don't want to be dumb and stand for something I know very little about. Some people go too far with principles.

Why should we even consider looking at the 600+ games as he did one of the stupidest thing I've ever seen a Chelsea player do in one of the most crucial games in the history of the club. I couldn't believe he did it when I first saw it. I'm glad it didn't cost us. JT already said he was rightly punished for the "stupid thing" he did. Although I agree it should have nothing to do with the court case, nothing at all. I just brought up an example of what he can do on a football field. Racist I don't think JT is, not at all.

Main point is if Terry kept his mouth shut at the QPR game he'd still play for England. That is a stone cold fact.

Hope you don't get me wrong people. I love JT. He is the image of the club and the reason my pulse and blood pressure is slightly lower than without him during games. But if he's gone too far you have to acknowledge it and say it.

Edited by evissy
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JT and Cole have been called liars based on speculation. Racial prejudice indeed often finds its foundation on speculation. The FA ironically have behaved like a bunch of biggoted specualtive prejudiced morons. If I was JT I would sue for Libel and Slander as the case was published and not a private matter. If they want to remove Racism from the the game I would recommend they stop this paradoxical toxic behaviour. I am very pessimistic for England's chances in the World Cup and thinks this matter sucks; having served his country for years and helped secure a multicultural team the champions league trophy JT deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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JT and Cole have been called liars based on speculation. Racial prejudice indeed often finds its foundation on speculation. The FA ironically have behaved like a bunch of biggoted specualtive prejudiced morons. If I was JT I would sue for Libel and Slander as the case was published and not a private matter. If they want to remove Racism from the the game I would recommend they stop this paradoxical toxic behaviour. I am very pessimistic for England's chances in the World Cup and thinks this matter sucks; having served his country for years and helped secure a multicultural team the champions league trophy JT deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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Why should we even consider looking at the 600+ games as he did one of the stupidest thing I've ever seen a Chelsea player do in one of the most crucial games in the history of the club. I couldn't believe he did it when I first saw it. I'm glad it didn't cost us. JT already said he was rightly punished for the "stupid thing" he did. Although I agree it should have nothing to do with the court case, nothing at all. I just brought up an example of what he can do on a football field. Racist I don't think JT is, not at all.

I understand where you're coming from evissy in regards the other aspects of your post, but I have to take issue with the above, at risk of hijacking this thread.

Listen, Terry did something stupid in a crunch game. Yes. Many many players do stupid things in crunch games, far more than Terry. Have you ever heard of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, etc etc? It was a massive game with massive pressure and Terry was under intolerable personal pressure as well, due to this case hanging over him, and having lost the captaincy, and having the England manager resign. We can only imagine what he goes through on a daily basis, let alone his kids at school and his long-suffering wife. That sh*t takes its toll mate. Terry is human, he is flawed, he makes mistakes, he made one in the Camp Nou, yet every single Chelsea fan on the planet forgave him immediately. Not after the game when we'd gone through, but immediately, because if anyone has credit in the bank as far as Chelsea are concerned, it is him. The guy has done so much for us, stepped up so many times.

This is the important bit ..

That offence was worthy of a yellow, nothing more. Because it was Terry, because it was Chelsea, because it was against Barca, the whole world went mad. Let me ask you something, if Puyol raises his knee into the back of Drogba, without hurting him, and Drogba goes down in the vein of Sanchez, clutching his back like he's just been poleaxed, what does the world say then, and, more importantly, what does the referee do? Drogba cheated they would say, he feigned injury, he deserved his booking. Puyol would be in the referee's face demanding Drogba be sent off. The idea of a red for Puyol would be far-fetched. Far-fetched indeed. The free-kick would go the other way.

Terry raises his knee. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. He anticipated (wrongly) Sanchez backing into him and he wasn't going to allow that sort of nonsense. Terry simply does not kick people off the ball. That is not his game. He made a serious misjudgement in the worst possible game in the worst possible arena and he sabotaged himself, again, denying himself the chance of CL redemption, but nobody can tell me that was a red card. Stupid, yes. Red card, no.

It's a yellow card all day long. Nothing less nothing more. Look at his face when he gets the red, look at the shock. He simply was not trying to foul anyone. It was an error of judgement. If he came out immediately after and defended himself it's because he firmly believed it, it's not because he was lying. For the FA to use that as a stick with which to beat his character is disgusting.

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Good post Davey but I disagree about the red. I think if he did it at The Bridge he'd been red carded anyway. There was no justification for him to kneel Sanchez, ball wasn't even involved in the whole incident.

Terry is an experienced senior have-seen-it-all player so he must be under immense personal pressure if he keeps doing these stupid things. He knows such a thing at Nou Camp can mean red and yet he did it. I appreciate that but should he not be punished because of that. No. Life is not fair and and so isn't football. I really feel for JT but he is very previliged human being and this sort of responsibility comes with the money.

Wrong place, wrong time for JT. Hope this thing cools off soon and we can get on with the footy.

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