KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING
LONDON: Fabio Capello has resigned sensationally as manager of England after a meeting with Football Association chairman David Bernstein.
The breaking point in the increasingly unsatisfactory relationship between the FA and the world’s highest-paid national coach – at £6m-a-year – was the sacking of John Terry as national captain. But Capello was, in many ways, fortunate still to be in the job after the disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa.
Capello resigned following a meeting with FA chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne at Wembley Stadium.
Bernstein and the Club England management team will hold a media conference at Wembley at 12 noon on Thursday. A likely scenario is that assistant Stuart Pearce will be handed caretaker charge for the Wembley friendly against Holland on February 28 and thus give the FA time and space inwhich to plot a new route to Poland and Ukraine and beyond.
An FA statement read: “The Football Association can confirm that Fabio Capello has today resigned as England manager.
“This follows a meeting involving FA chairman David Bernstein, FA general secretary Alex Horne and Fabio Capello at Wembley Stadium. The discussions focused on the FA board’s decision to remove the England team captaincy from John Terry, and Fabio Capello’s response through an Italian broadcast interview. In a meeting for over an hour, Fabio’s resignation was accepted and he will leave the post of England manager with immediate effect.”
Bernstein said the resignation was the right course of action. He added: “I would like to stress that during today’s meeting and throughout his time as England manager, Fabio has conducted himself in an extremely professional manner. We have accepted Fabio’s resignation, agreeing this is the right decision. We would like to thank Fabio for his work with the England team and wish him every success in the future.”
Ironically, Capello’s exit was triggered by the man he had sought to defend. If Terry had taken the honorable course and resigned the England armband on being charged with a racist comment to QPR’s Anton Ferdinand then the issue would not festered on. The FA was then left stranded by Chelsea’s success in persuading the West London court to delay Terry’s trial until after the Euro finals.
However, questions will be asked in the fall-out over Bernstein’s apparent decision to canvas the FA board over Terry earlier this week and take the decision without ever involving Capello in the process. Angry comments reported from Capello in the Italian media suggested he was angered at having a football issue decided elsewhere and thus being undemined, so to speak, from above.
As his friend and former Milan colleague Ruud Gullit told this writer earlier this week, after Capello;s initial statement of disagreement to Italian state TV: “He does not want anyone telling him what to do.”
The Capello debacle will certainly drive the FA into ending, again, the adventure with a foreign coach. Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp – now he is all-clear after his tax trial – West Bromwich’s Roy Hodgson, Newcastle’s Alan Pardew and Pearce himself will come into the frame.