England football captain John Terry has denied racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and will stand trial for the offence, a court has heard.
The player did not attend the short hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, but his barrister George Carter-Stephenson QC, entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Terry, 31, is accused of a racially-aggravated public order offence after video footage which appears to show him shout an offensive comment Queens Park Rangers defender Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.
After the hearing, Terry's lawyer made the statement: "Mr Terry has consistently and resolutely maintained [that] remarks were made in...belief that he was being accused of racist abuse.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more
"Mr Terry denies making any racist statement and will establish in court that he is not guilty of any such offence.
"Mr Terry has never racially abused another player in his entire career."
Chelsea Football Club is standing by Terry, who has said he will "fight tooth and nail" to prove his innocence. If found guilty he could be fined up to Â£2,500. However the damage to the football captain's reputation could prove much more costly, losing valuable sponsorship and advertising deals.