England footballer John Terry called Anton Ferdinand a racist obscenity in response to taunts about his alleged affair with a team-mate's ex-girlfriend, a court heard on Monday
The 31-year-old Chelsea defender allegedly called Ferdinand, who plays for Queens Park Rangers, a "f****** black c***".
Terry is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence during a Premier League match on October 23 last year, which was broadcast to millions of people.
Flanked by police officers, Terry dressed smartly for the hearing, in a silver suit and pale pink tie
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court today, Terry sat in the dock wearing a light grey suit, white shirt and pink tie.
The court heard that Terry told Ferdinand to "f*** off" and also called him a "f****** knobhead" as the pair exchanged insults.
Opening the prosecution today, Duncan Penny said: "The Crown alleges that the words he used demonstrated hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership or presumed membership of a racial group."
An artist's impression of the two players in court on Monday
The court heard that Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used.
Mr Penny said: "The Crown alleges that the defendant, most probably in response to physical gestures being made by Mr Ferdinand which the defendant understood to refer to the well-publicised allegation of an extra-marital affair with a team-mate's wife, shouted at Mr Ferdinand."
The comment was allegedly made to the Queens Park Rangers defender when the two teams met at Loftus Road
He went on: "The Crown's case is that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense and that the term 'f****** black c***' was uttered as an abusive insult demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership of a racial group.
"They were uttered by the defendant in response to goading by Mr Ferdinand on the issue of his extra-marital affair, rather than by way of exaggerated and instant querying of a perceived false allegation."
Terry was allowed out of the dock into the well of the court to view footage of the alleged insult.
Both television clips and unbroadcast footage of the incident, which would normally be used for training purposes, were shown to the court.
It is claimed that Ferdinand said something about "shagging ya mate's missus" and made fist gestures, before Terry responded.
The court was told that Chelsea team-mates Ashley Cole and John Mikel Obi were nearby when insults were traded, but they will not be called as witnesses as part of the prosecution case.
Terry said in a statement to the Football Association five days after the incident that he and Ferdinand had been exchanging "verbals" and he had made a gesture to imply Mr Ferdinand had bad breath.
He said: "We're still having a, sort of, ding-dong, if you like. That's when, as I said before, he said 'black c***'.
"Now clearly, as I said before, I don't think he's calling me a black c***, but at the same time I take quite a strong offence."
The England defender said he was not offended by the taunts about the alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, because "it's not the first time I've heard it, so it's with a pinch of salt a little bit now".
It is claimed that Ferdinand made a reference to "shagging Bridges' missus" during the exchange.
In a statement made to police last November, Terry said he was offended by the accusation that he had used racist language.
He said his words to the other player were meant to make it clear that he had not used a racist insult, and that Ferdinand was a "knobhead" for thinking that he had.
The statement read: "Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever (the) situation.
"I was completely taken aback by this remark as I have never been accused of something like that and I did not take his remark lightly at all, and took strong offence to his suggestion."
Terry's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court in February.
Terry held his head low as he entered Westminister Magistrates Court. No jury will sit on the trial.
His trial was delayed until after the Euro 2012 championships after District Judge Howard Riddle heard that a number of other Chelsea players would not be able to appear as witnesses until the end of the football season.
Terry faces a maximum fine of £2,500 if convicted in a trial that is expected to last for five days. The fine is less than 2% of Terry's weekly salary. However if he is convicted it is likely that the FA will take action, as happend in the Luis Suarez case.
Liverpool striker Suarez was fined £40,000 and handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match between the two clubs at Anfield in October.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand sent a message of support to brother Anton before the hearing.
He wrote on Twitter: "Morning all! Frazzled head this morning, school run done! @anton_ferdinand head high bruv."
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