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Terry removed as England captain, can still play

John Terry was removed as England captain yesterday as he awaits trial for racial abuse, but the Chelsea defender will remain eligible to play for the national team at the European Championship.
AP | By HT Correspondent, London
UPDATED ON FEB 04, 2012 07:10 PM IST

John Terry was removed as England captain on Friday as he awaits trial for racial abuse, but the Chelsea defender will remain eligible to play for the national team at the European Championship.

The English Football Association said the Chelsea defender would be stripped of the captaincy "until the allegations against him are resolved."

Terry faces trial in July on charges of racially abusing Queens Park defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.

"(The board) collectively decided it is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time," the FA 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.

"The FA board can confirm that he has not been excluded from the squad."

England coach Fabio Capello was not consulted about the decision, unlike in 2010 when Terry lost the captaincy ahead of the World Cup over allegations he had an affair with the former girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge.

After Terry was accused of abusing Ferdinand, Capello and the FA said at the time that he could continue as captain because he was "innocent until proven guilty."

But Capello and the FA had expected the 31-year-old Terry's trial would take place before the European Championship in Ukraine and Poland.

A judge on Wednesday, however, delayed the trial until July 9, a week after the Euro 2012 final, after Chelsea said it would be difficult for players to testify during the Premier League season.

"This decision (to sack Terry) in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry," the FA said.

Although Terry has lost the England captaincy, Chelsea said he will continue to captain the Premier League club.

"It was the FA's decision," Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said Friday. "I don't agree with it. John will continue as Chelsea captain."

Terry will miss Sunday's match against Manchester United with a knee injury.

The British government backed the FA's decision.

"It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head," sports minister Hugh Robertson said.

Terry, who has played 72 times for England since his debut in 2003, was stripped of the captaincy for the first time almost two years ago to the day.

Anton Ferdinand's brother, Rio, was given the captaincy then, but Terry was reinstated last March, with Capello saying that "one year's punishment is enough."

Terry's position was thrown into doubt just six months later when he allegedly shouted abuse at Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's 1-0 loss at QPR. The FA's own investigation was put on hold when the police probe began.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is now in line to take over as England captain. Vice captain Rio Ferdinand said Friday he does not want the job again after being dropped from the role by Capello last year.

"I don't want to be england captain after the last episode, just want to concentrate on playin(g) for utd," the Manchester United defender wrote on Twitter. "If I make the squad then as ever I'll be delighted."

This season has been marred by racism allegations, with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez completing an eight-match ban for repeatedly racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a match in October.

The FA took a strong stance in November when FIFA President Sepp Blatter downplayed the problem of racism in football.

"I, with others in prominent positions in the game, have to make sure we live up to the values of which we speak," Bernstein said at the time. "The FA remains strongly committed to diversity, equal opportunities for all and anti-discrimination."

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