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Capello gives Terry the boot

2010-02-05 17:45
London - John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy following reports of an extra-marital affair with the ex-girlfriend of international team-mate Wayne Bridge, Sky News reported on Friday, citing unidentified sources.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the report, which came after Terry met England coach Fabio Capello at Football Association (FA) headquarters at Wembley.

Terry had been summoned to meet Capello after a week of intense scrutiny of the Chelsea defender's suitability to lead England at the World Cup in South Africa in June and July.

Capello had been under pressure to strip the Chelsea defender of the captaincy from sections of the media that have spent the last week lambasting the married father of two over his alleged infidelity with Vanessa Perroncel, an underwear model who has a son with Bridge but is now estranged from the Manchester City left-back.

Terry had been strongly backed by his club coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has insisted that the player's private life will have no bearing on his position as Chelsea skipper, and Stuart Pearce, who coaches England's under-21s and helps Capello with the senior squad.

But it appears that Capello had made his decision before Friday's meeting, which lasted only 12 minutes, according to Sky.

Capello, who is due to attend the Euro 2012 qualifying draw in Warsaw on Sunday, had picked Terry as his permanent captain in August 2008 having initially appeared to be leaning towards Steven Gerrard or Rio Ferdinand.

Liverpool midfielder Gerrard was installed Friday as the favourite to succeed Terry as skipper although Capello has also spoken highly of Wayne Rooney's leadership qualities.

Capello was left in no doubt about the extent to which the scandal has gripped the country when he was greeted by a huge media scrum at Heathrow airport on Thursday, following his return to England from Switzerland, where he had been recuperating from knee surgery.

The head coach was briefed by his assistant Franco Baldini on Thursday and it had been expected he would have a lengthy discussion with Terry on issues including whether he and Bridge will be able to play in the same squad and the possibility of further embarrassing revelations in the run-up to the World Cup.

Capello will not have been reassured on that score by a report in Friday's Daily Mail which claimed that an associate of Terry's management agents had offered to rent his personal box at Wembley stadium for a "cash" payment of 4,000 pounds (6,200 dollars).

The 12-seat box is one of Terry's perks as England captain and Football Association rules expressly forbid him from renting it to a third party. His spokesman denied that the player was involved in the alleged attempt to sell seats in the box.

Although Terry has been widely condemned in the press, a poll published Friday indicated that public opinion was fairly split with 46 percent of those quizzed supporting a sacking while 39 percent believe he should keep the captaincy.

Just over half of respondents to the PoliticsHome poll felt there was no need for the public to know about the affair, which only became public knowledge after a judge quashed an injunction against publication which Terry's lawyers had obtained on right-to-privacy grounds.

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