Chelsea captain John Terry is to face prosecution over allegations that he racially abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced on Wednesday afternoon that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Terry for his on-field exchange with Ferdinand at Loftus Road on 23rd October.
The Metropolitan Police assessed the incident after a complaint by a member of the public and passed its evidence to the CPS for consideration at the start of this month.
Terry has categorically denied the claims and vowed to clear his name, while Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas stated earlier on Wednesday that everyone at the club would stand by the defender regardless of the CPS verdict.
The CPS has now made its decision, also confirming that Terry will appear before West London Magistrates' Court on 1st February.
Ms Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London, said: "I have today advised the Metropolitan Police Service that John Terry should be prosecuted for a racially aggravated public order offence following comments allegedly made during a Premier League football match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea on 23 October, 2011.
"The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all the evidence I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.
"He is now summonsed with a criminal offence and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."
Ferdinand submitted his account of the incident to the Football Association and has said he has 'very strong feelings on the matter'.
The Football Association is waiting until the police investigation is concluded before making further comment.
Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches on Tuesday after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.