Soccer

Terry stripped of captaincy

2012-02-03 13:05
John Terry (Gallo)

London - John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy for the second time in two years on Friday after concern his ongoing racism court case had made his position untenable, reports said.

Several British media outlets reported that English Football Association chairperson David Bernstein had called Terry shortly before 12:00 to inform him of the body's decision.

The FA would not immediately confirm the reports.

Bernstein had canvassed opinion amongst members of the FA board on Thursday, who were understood to favour replacing 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.

It was not immediately clear if Terry would continue to be available for selection to manager Fabio Capello, who was widely reported to have wanted the Chelsea defender to remain as his captain.

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 ruling comes after mounting calls this week for Terry to be replaced from politicians, anti-racism campaigners and media pundits who warned of a "toxic" atmosphere in England's multi-racial dressing room if he remained.

Anton Ferdinand's older brother Rio is a member of the England squad, and in a further twist, could regain the captaincy following Terry's sacking although Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard would also be considered.

Damian Collins MP, a member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, had led calls for Terry to be fired.

"John Terry should stand aside as captain until the case is resolved, and any doubt either way removed," he said.

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..!!!

Media commentators meanwhile broadly called for Terry's replacement, arguing that the mere fact of the charges make him an inappropriate figurehead for English football given the FA's record in campaigning against racism.

The Times' chief sports writer Simon Barnes said on Friday the FA faced an "invidious choice."

"Should we seem to be rejecting the principle of innocent until proven guilty, or should we seem to be condoning racism?" Barnes wrote.

"Racism is emphatically a public issue, and to captain your country is a public role. Moreover, captaining England is not a fundamental human right.

"To choose, as captain of your country, a man who may have been guilty of racist behaviour is inappropriate, even if he denies it. So on those grounds alone it's good night JT."

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