Even Mr Bean thinks the John Terry FA disciplinary hearing was a joke.

Mr Bean speaks out.

Even Mr. Bean thinks the John Terry FA disciplinary hearing was a joke.

Mr. Bean broke his silence this week in the aftermath of the John Terry case and claimed that the FA are a joke who can no longer be trusted to run its own disciplinary system. Now if it was Rowan Atkinson proclaiming such a bold statement it could be brushed under the carpet as the ramblings of a frivolous comedian (allegedly) but when the Mr. Bean in question is Graham Bean, the FA’s ex compliance officer, then it is an entirely different matter.

Ex CID officer Graham Bean was once employed by the FA to clean up the game as their compliance office and in an interview with The Independent on Sunday, he mocked the independence of the disciplinary commission that passed judgment on Terry. Bean has become frustrated by the fact that more than 99 per cent of those charged by the FA are found guilty, by supposedly independent tribunals, but just how independent is independent?

Let’s consider the 3 man panel that sat in judgment of John Terry:

Maurice Armstrong from the Huntingdonshire FA is on the disciplinary committee and an FA vice-president and Stuart Ripley is on the payroll of the FA for his duties. So much for the concept of independent and impartial adjudicators.

Bean believes that the Premier League and Football League should be responsible for disciplining their members, with the FA handling any subsequent appeals.

"The whole system is a joke; the FA can't be trusted to run the disciplinary process. It's time to overhaul it because the FA can't be trusted to be consistent with penalties."

It would appear that the club’s agree with Bean’s assessment and let’s remember that the FA are there to serve the clubs. Football Factors conducted a survey two years ago and found almost 90% of clubs under the FA’s jurisdiction didn't have faith in the FA disciplinary process.

Bean also highlighted the FA’s continued failure to disclose evidence:

"Once again the FA says all the documents have been disclosed and in the middle of the hearing it comes out that they kept hold of some stuff. They did the same with Suarez. It's highly embarrassing for the FA. They told the police and the CPS they'd disclosed everything but they hadn't."

Bean is making reference to Adam Sanhaie in particular, who allegedly took written notes, during the Ashley Cole testimony. Yet, the FA brushed over this irregularity:

"Mr. Sanhaie's notes were initially omitted from the FA's disclosure of relevant documents and other material in its possession, and only came to light just before the commencement of the substantive hearing."

But they still concluded: "The Commission is satisfied, insofar as it reasonably can be, that the FA did comply with its disclosure obligations in this case. Disclosure in any jurisdiction is an imperfect exercise."

That may be true, but in a court of law the body withholding the evidence is not the prosecutor as in the case of the FA panel, as it allows them to prejudice its own case against the accused, which it duly did.

The withheld statements were instrumental in allowing the FA to circumvent its own regulation.The FA needed Clear and convincing new evidence to circumvent their own regulation 6.8 which basically states that they must abide with the decision of a court case.

The commission agreed that the FA’s first supposedly two new pieces of evidence, relating to the Barcelona match and the press statement were frivolous. However they ruled that the statements of Ms Kennedy and Mr Sanhaie were pivotal in introducing “New clear and convincing evidence:

“These highly material issues relating to Mr. Cole’s evidence were not addressed by the Chief Magistrate - he clearly did not have the interview notes of the FA‟s Interviewers.” The reason he didn’t have them was because the FA failed to disclose them despite repeated requests from Terry’s legal team.

The case of Mr. Adam Sanhaie becomes more and more mysterious. Ms Kennedy (the other FA note taker) would appear to suggest in her evidence to the commission that there was some confusion as to whether Adam Sanhaie even took notes at the Ashley Cole interview.

Ms Kennedy gave oral evidence to the Commission and her recollection as to whether Mr. Sanhaie was, or was not, taking notes was, in places, difficult to understand (although the recent disclosure shows that he clearly did take detailed notes).”

When Mr. Sanhaie’s notes did finally resurface they somewhat unusually fail to mention that Cole says the word “Bridge” in his notes, This glaring discrepancy was ignored by the commission magistrates, despite the fact that what Ashley Cole thought he heard Ferdinand say is pivotal to the whole case. Cole reported that Ferdinand definitely said a B word but wasn’t sure what it was, Ms Kennedy records Cole as saying that it could have been “Bridge”, but Mr. Sanhaie’s notes make no mention of the word “Bridge” at all. If it wasn’t “Bridge” but “Black” as Cole suggests then it supports Cole and Bernard’s evolution of evidence that the magistrates were so scathing about appears to be far more plausible. It makes the conclusion the commission magistrates came to that it was contrived as inconclusive at best.

On the balance of probabilities, the Commission finds that the contemporaneous notes of that interview, which were made by Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Sanhaie, are more likely to be accurate than the recollections of Mr. Barnard over 10 months later, in their recording of key words and phrases that Mr. Cole used.”

This despite the fact that Ms Kennedy cannot confirm that Mr Sanhaie even took notes at the meeting means in all probability that the notes would have been given little or no credence as credible evidence in a court of law. Furthermore, they came to their conclusion despite the fact that Miss Kennedy's notes differ with regard to a crucial point and ignore Mr. Sanhaie’s notes inexplicably going missing. Why was the evidence held back for the court case, yet produced as the one piece of evidence that allowed the FA to circumvent its own rule? The one piece of evidence that the FA commission claimed supported their case for Clear and convincing new evidence.

Surely Mr. Sanhaie should have been called as a witness or at least asked to provide a written statement to clear up the discrepancy. Furthermore, the report also states:

She (Ms Kennedy) was accompanied by a colleague who was employed by the FA at the time, Adam Sanhaie.” Which begs the question has Mr Sanhaie since left the FA and if so why?

When an ex FA compliance officer and CID officer concludes that FA tribunals are Kangaroo courts and it is almost impossible to obtain a not guilty verdict it is damning and incontrovertible evidence that the FA needs to reform. It comes as absolutely no surprise to find that the FA gets its way in 99.5% of the disciplinary procedures.

It is easy to see that there was no point in John Terry appealing the FA verdict, even if he is convinced in his own mind that he is innocent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t know if John Terry is guilty or not; if he believed Ferdinand had accused him then he is not guilty, only John Terry can answer the question of whether he is guilty or not.

My problem is with the FA; we live in a democracy and are quick to condemn the judicial systems of dictators and Military rulers, yet the press and the media are almost without exception condemning a man found guilty under an equally abusive system. This despite the fact that initial court case abided by established and proper legal procedures and found him not guilty, Yet the FA found him guilty under their own imposed lesser burden of guilt by a far from independent commission. That cannot be right or given the name justice.

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