Luis Suarez's racism hearing last year took four days to complete and Terry's appearance before an FA independent regulatory panel will last at least that long. Chelsea skipper Terry spent eight hours on Wednesday at the hearing at Wembley Stadium, where he denies a charge that he used a racist slur towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand in October last year.
The 31-year-old was accompanied by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck for the duration of the hearing and both departed shortly before 4.30pm. Liverpool striker Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, but was found to have done so on a number of occasions during the match. Terry is accused of a single utterance towards Ferdinand, which has led to some speculation that if found guilty the Chelsea player would be more likely to receive a four-match ban. Close analysis of the full reasons behind Suarez's ban shows that Terry could easily face a similar length ban if found guilty.
In Suarez's case, the FA argued for an increased sanction "to ensure that it is widely understood that the FA deprecates and will not accept racist behaviour. In other words, a deterrent sanction is called for". The FA also pointed out that "Mr Suarez is an international footballer of exceptional ability, playing for one of the best-known clubs in the world. His position carries with it a particular degree of responsibility. His conduct amounts to a serious breach of that responsibility".
Those criteria also apply to Terry - particularly given that he was England captain at the time of the incident. Terry and his advisors are hoping that he will be completely exonerated - and if he is not an appeal looks almost certain to be lodged because it is understood the FA would not regard such an action as frivolous. Terry was found not guilty in a magistrates' court in July of a racially-motivated public order offence with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" as an insult. Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.
The FA's decision to press ahead with their own charges infuriated Terry to the extent that on the eve of the disciplinary hearing he announced he was quitting international football with immediate effect, saying his position was "untenable". Terry's legal team had argued the governing body's own rules dictated his acquittal in court means the case cannot proceed but the FA believed their charge was distinct from the court charge.