Football

John Terry stripped of England captaincy

John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy, the Football Association has confirmed.

The 31-year-old Chelsea centre-back was informed of the decision by FA chairman David Bernstein in a phone call at 1000 GMT.

He is due to stand trial in July over racial abuse allegations after an incident with QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.

Terry, who lost the captaincy once previously, has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.

In a statement, the FA said Terry would not “captain the England team until the allegations against him are resolved”.

It continued: “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 said Capello was free to select Terry for the Netherlands friendly in February and Euro 2012.

“FA chairman David Bernstein has spoken to both John Terry and Fabio Capello to explain the facts to them,” the statement continued.

“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.”

BBC Sport understands the majority view among FA board members was that Terry should be stood down.

Capello had until now maintained the position that Terry was innocent until proven guilty and that he should be free to select him as his captain until his trial is over.

There was some nervousness among board members as to how the Italian would react, with some fearing he will see it as undue interference in team affairs.

But there was an acceptance among the FA hierarchy that the matter should be taken out of his hands.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson backed the FA’s decision, saying it would have been “impossible” for Terry to continue.

Robertson said: “I completely support the FA’s decision. It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head.”

The FA was forced to act after Terry’s case was adjourned until 9 July – a week after the Euro 2012 finals end – ensuring that the affair will dominate the build-up to the championship.

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