Facing a criminal charge over accusations of making a racial slur during an October match, Captain of England’s national soccer team and the powerful club Chelsea John Terry has been stripped of England captaincy.
Responsible for laying criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has already claimed it has charged Terry. As a result of his racism court trial, the Football Association decided not to retain Terry as the captain. The Association added the decision had been taken without Fabio Capello's involvement.
Led by chairman David Bernstein, the Association decided to intervene after affirmation that the trial was unlikely to take place until after Euro 2012.
The decision came even as England manager has been insisting he should have control of team matters, including the captaincy.
Capello will still have the liberty to pick Terry for England friendlies and Euro 2012 and to decide upon the replacement skipper. As of now Steven Gerrard’s name is making the rounds.
The Association said in a statement: "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 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.
"FA chairman David Bernstein has spoken to both John Terry and Fabio Capello to explain the facts to them. 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.
"This decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry."
Backing the decision, Sports minister Hugh 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."
Though Terry is denying, the allegations against the white player is that he made a racist remark during an October match toward Anton Ferdinand, a black defender.
Ferdinand plays for Queens Park Rangers, a London rival of Chelsea.
Terry, who is 31, is asserting that the context of his remarks was misunderstood. In a statement, he said: “I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.”
He is charged with violating Britain’s Crime and Disorder Act (of) 1998, which focuses on antisocial behavior.
If found guilty, he faces maximum fine of about $4,000. But, a conviction could cost Terry the captaincy of his club and national team, besides his reputation and his ability to earn endorsement money.
In a statement, London’s chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders earlier said: “I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.”