England captain John Terry will not stand trial for racially abusing an opponent during a Premier League match until after the European Championship.

The formal prosecution of the Chelsea defender began on Wednesday, with Terry accused of shouting an offensive comment at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during an October match.

While Terry was not at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for the first hearing, lawyer George Carter-Stephenson entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.

The court adjourned the case until the week of July 9.

The 31-year-old Terry faces a maximum fine of 2,500 pounds ($3,940) if convicted of a racially aggravated public order offense.

"Mr. Terry looks forward to the opportunity to clear his name,'' Terry's legal team said in a statement. "Mr. Terry has consistently and resolutely maintained that his well publicized remarks were made in the belief that he was being accused of racist abuse by Mr. Ferdinand.

"Mr. Terry was shocked and disgusted by that accusation at the time. Mr. Terry denies making any racist statement and will establish in court that he is not guilty of any such offense. Mr. Terry has never racially abused another player in his entire career.''

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