The FA strips John Terry of the England captaincy ahead of his trial for allegedly racially abusing another player. A former England footballer tells Channel 4 News he is “relieved”.
Chelsea defender John Terry had his captaincy title removed on Friday morning by the Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, who told him of the board’s decision at 10am.
He has not been excluded from the squad and England manager Fabio Capello is free to select the player for the Holland fixture on 29 February and the European Championships.
It was announced on Wednesday that Terry will stand trial on 9 July for allegedly racially abusing the Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand the week after the end of Euro 2012, held in Poland and Ukraine.
Terry pleaded not guilty to racism charges during his appearance at West London Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
But anti-racism campaigners argued that a footballer facing such serious charges should not lead his country during the competition.
In a statement, the FA said Terry will not captain “until the allegations against him are resolved”.
“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.”
Capello previously said that he wanted to make the decision about whether Terry should remain captain, adding that he should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty. But the majority of the 14-strong FA board decided they had to act.
This is the second time the 31-year-old has had the captaincy taken away, having lost it two years ago when allegations about his private life became the focus of widespread speculation.
Former England player John Scales told Channel 4 News that he was “relieved” by the decision.
“I think it’s in the best interests of the harmony of the team as they are headed for the Euros,” he said.
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 Football Association
“This is the year of the Olympics. You want sportsmen who are in privileged positions to realise that, and to act in terms of sporting integrity,” he said. “I certainly think it’s the right decision in light of such serious allegations.”
John Anderson, football writer and commentator, told Channel 4 News: “The FA’s stance will lay them open to accusations that they are acting as judge and jury before the trial takes place.
“It is up to British justice to decide whether John Terry is a racist or not and only then should the FA consider any sanctions. It has taken them since October, when the alleged incident took place, to reach this decision. Why not now wait until after the trial?”