John Terry has had the captaincy of England’s national soccer team stripped from him for the second time in the past two years. This time it could be permanent though. Terry was named captain of the team originally following the World Cup in 2006 by former manager Steve McClaren. However, he’s facing a court case on a charge of racial abuse and the English Football Association informed him on Feb. 3 that he’ll no longer be the nation’s captain, but he’s still eligible to play for the team.
Terry, who is also the captain of Chelsea of the English Premier League, has been charged with verbally racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers. Terry’s trial doesn’t begin until July, following this year’s European Championships (Euro 2012) though, and it’s believed that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could replace Terry as England’s skipper.
England manager Fabio Capello originally stood by Terry early on in the racial dispute, but because the Euro 2012 tournament comes before the trial the FA thought he should be replaced. The FA released a statement which said he’ll be stripped of his duties until the court case is resolved. They thought the case would go to trial before the tournament, but it was pushed back to July and Euro 2012 takes place from June 8 to July 1 in Poland and Ukraine.
The FA also said Terry hasn’t been banned from the team and Capello is free to choose him for the squad as he sees fit. England’s next game is a tune-up match against Holland on Feb. 29 David Bernstein, the chairman of the FA, spoke to Capello and Terry to explain the situation to them. Capello didn’t have a say in the final decision as it was made by the organization’s board. Capello will be the one who chooses the next captain though.
The FA wanted to make it clear that their decision in no way implies that Terry is guilty of the racial abuse accusations and they won’t comment further until the case has gone to court. Terry will still serve as captain of Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas, the club’s manager, said he’s not happy that the FA has stripped his player of the captaincy before he’s been ruled innocent or guilty. He said he doesn’t agree with it because everybody’s presumed innocent unless they’re proven guilty and Terry hasn’t been found guilty of anything at the moment.
Terry also had England’s captaincy taken away from him two years ago after he was accused of having an affair with the girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge. However, the captain’s armband was given back to him just over a year later after it was revealed the accusations were ridiculous because the woman was a just a former girlfriend of Bridge’s. Apparently Bridge couldn’t handle the decision and refused to play for England and hasn’t been selected for the team since. Gerrard could be chosen to replace Terry, but he’s often out of the squad due to injuries.