LONDON, England, February 3- John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy for the second time in two years on Friday after mounting concern his ongoing racism court case had made his position untenable.
The English Football Association confirmed in a statement that chairman David Bernstein had contacted Terry to inform him of the body’s decision to remove him as captain until the racism allegations were “resolved.”
Bernstein had canvassed opinion amongst members of the FA board on Thursday to discuss the best course action for Terry, who is accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a match last year.
Terry, 31, strongly denies the charges and has vowed to clear his name. However the decision this week to delay his court case until July 9 left FA chiefs with the prospect of the saga overshadowing England’s Euro 2012 campaign.
“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 statement 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.”
However the FA statement stressed Terry could still represent England in Poland and the Ukraine this summer.
“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,” the statement said.
The FA said Bernstein had explained the decision to Terry and Capello, who had reportedly been in favour of keeping the centre-half as captain.
“Fabio Capello has not been involved in the FA Board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands the FA Board has authority to make this decision,” the statement said.
Terry did not immediately make any comment on the decision but was reportedly mulling retirement from international football, “angry and disillusioned” over his treatment according to The Daily Mirror.
Friday’s developments marked the latest twist to Terry’s chequered England career following the decision to sack him as captain over allegations about his private life in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup.
The FA’s latest ruling was applauded by Britain’s sports minister Hugh Robertson.
“I completely support the FA’s decision,” Robertson said. “It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head.”
Politicians and anti-racism campaigners had warned of a “toxic” atmosphere in England’s multi-racial dressing room if Terry was kept on as captain.
Piara Powar, the executive director of European football’s anti-discrimination body – Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) also said Terry should be replaced.
“Innocent until proven guilty,” he Tweeted. “But should John Terry remain as England capt through the Euros? I can’t see how he can.”
Reading striker and radio pundit Jason Roberts Tweeted: “Believe me…the Dressing room at the Euros will be TOXIC unless the correct decision is made..!!!
Meanwhile Anton Ferdinand’s older brother Rio, an England team-mate of Terry, said he had no interest in seeking the captaincy.
Rio Ferdinand had previously accepted the armband when Terry was sacked as skipper two years ago, but was unhappy at the manner in which he lost the captaincy last year.
“I don’t want to be England captain after the last episode, just want to concentrate on playin for Utd&if I make the squad then as ever I’ll be delighted,” Ferdinand announced on Twitter.