England captain John Terry will face a charge of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match, it has been confirmed.
Mr Terry is alleged to have used racist language towards the Queens Park Rangers player during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road on 23 October.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Mr Terry was accused of a racially aggravated public order offence.
The 31-year-old vowed to clear his name and said he was “disappointed”.
Police questioned the Chelsea captain under caution in November and a file on the matter was sent to the CPS at the beginning of December.
Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for London, said: “I have today advised the Metropolitan Police that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments allegedly made during a football match between Queen’s Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October.
“The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and, after careful consideration of all the evidence, I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.”
She continued: “He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial.”
The decision to charge Mr Terry was taken after police received a complaint from a member of the public.
The FA had put its own investigation on hold until the CPS decision was made. A spokesman said the FA was considering its statement.
Mr Terry, who has always maintained his innocence, is due before West London Magistrates’ Court on 1 February.
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