A fortnight after being cleared in court of racially abusing QPR defender Ferdinand, Chelsea captain Terry faced being sanctioned by the FA over the same incident.
Terry immediately denied the charge in a statement released to Press Association Sport, saying: "I deny the charge and I will be requesting the opportunity to attend the commission for a personal hearing."
The FA said in their statement: "Chelsea captain John Terry has been charged by the Football Association with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, the FA have confirmed.
"It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand."
Terry was found not guilty during a five-day trial that ended two weeks ago, with District Judge Howard Riddle ruling there was reasonable doubt whether the words were intended as an insult.
Terry has always maintained they were not, insisting they formed part of a denial to an accusation of racism from Ferdinand during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League defeat at QPR on October 23.
He was acquitted on that basis but the FA refused to drop their own investigation into the matter, which they had put on hold as soon as Terry was charged with a criminal offence.
Whereas the prosecution in Terry's trial had to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the FA disciplinary commission can reach verdicts purely on the balance of probabilities, a much lower burden of proof.
They did just that in December when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
Terry could face even more dire consequences if found guilty.
He has already lost the England captaincy over the mere allegation and his international career would effectively be ended by a guilty verdict.
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It would also place enormous pressure on Chelsea, where he has been skipper for more than eight years, and who have taken a hard line on racism among their own supporters.
Terry said on Thursday he was "delighted to get back to football, concentrate on what I love doing" after speaking for the first time since his trial on the Blues' pre-season tour of the United States.
The racism row has haunted the defender ever since footage emerged appearing to show him shouting the words "f****** black c***" at Ferdinand soon after October's match at Loftus Road.
Ferdinand denied he had accused Terry of calling him that, although he admitted in court he taunted the 31-year-old over allegations of an extra-marital affair with former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge.
There were suggestions Ferdinand could also be charged with using insulting words but, as of tonight, it was only Terry who was facing punishment.
Although there were widespread reports the FA's decision whether to charge Terry was expected by the weekend, their announcement was made just hours before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, one of the biggest nights in the country's sporting history.