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The court case into allegations that Chelsea captain John Terry racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand begins today – although Terry himself is unlikely to be there.

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Lawyers for the England football captain will attend the first hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Prosecutors ruled before Christmas that Terry should be charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence over an allegation that he shouted an offensive comment at Ferdinand.

Terry, 31, who faces a maximum fine of 2,500 if convicted, has denied making the alleged slur during a Barclays Premier League match at Loftus Road on October 23 last year.

The footballer will be represented by his solicitor in court today for what is expected to be a short procedural hearing, a Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said.

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