LONDON: John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy because of concerns over his leading the national team with a racist comment trial hanging over him.
Football Association chairman David Bernstein took the decision after discussions with all the other members of the 14-strong board after the announcement that Terry’s court case will not take place until July 9 – after Euro 2012.
Chelsea skipper Terry, who is contesting a charge of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand, was called by Bernstein this morning ahead of formal confirmation.
This is the second time he has been stripped of the England armband having also lost it two years ago after controversy concerning his private life.
One concern is the possibility of England needing to make a complaint about racist abuse from spectators when playing matches in Ukraine this summer. It would be difficult for the FA to take the moral high ground with their captain facing a criminal charge for racism.
Terry’s barrister on Wednesday entered a formal not guilty plea at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
England manager Fabio Capello has insisted in the past that the captaincy decision is one for him to take but a number of significant opinions have been raised calling for Terry to stand aside.
Damian Collins, a Tory MP who sits on the culture, media and sport committee, said: “He is in a public position as England captain. Anyone else in a public position faced with such a criminal charge would stand aside from their position and then if cleared be able to return to that position.
“This has gone beyond being an allegation. He has been charged and has to appear in court and I don’t think under those circumstances he can fulfil his duties. It is also what it means for communities across the country if people just close their eyes to the situation until after the court case.”
The FA statement:
Following the decision to adjourn the court case against John Terry to July, The Football Association confirm he will not captain the England team until the allegations against him are resolved.
The FA Board expected the trial to be concluded prior to the European Championship. Further to Wednesday’s confirmation that the trial will not take place until after the tournament, the Board has discussed the matter in detail and has collectively decided it is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time.
This decision has been taken due to the higher profile nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch, and the additional demands and requirements expected of the captain leading into and during a tournament.
The FA Board can confirm that he has not been excluded from the squad and that Fabio Capello is free to select him for the Holland fixture on 29 February and the European Championship.
FA Chairman David Bernstein has spoken to both John Terry and Fabio Capello to explain the facts to them. Fabio Capello has not been involved in The FA Board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands that The FA Board has authority to make this decision.
Fabio Capello will take the decision as to who will be made captain moving forward.
This decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry. The FA will be not be making any further comment on this matter.