Terry set to quit as Capello fumes at English FA
Published 04/02/2012 | 05:00
ENGLAND manager Fabio Capello is "furious" that he was not consulted over the decision to strip John Terry of the team's captaincy yesterday.
The English FA made the move after being made aware that a number of the squad's black players were uncomfortable with the defender remaining in the post, but the England manager was not told about the decision until after it had been made.
It is understood that at the last get-together of the squad, for the friendlies with Spain and Sweden last November, it was communicated to Terry that there was an issue about him remaining as captain while he faced the prospect of a court case for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Other senior black players in football are also understood to have raised concerns with the Professional Footballers' Association about the message that Terry's retention sent in a season scarred by racist incidents.
This unhappiness also filtered through to the FA board, and chairman David Bernstein secured support for his view that Terry's position was untenable and that he should be stripped of the captaincy for a second time.
Capello is likely to hand the captaincy to Steven Gerrard after Rio Ferdinand yesterday ruled himself out of the running. There are, however concerns over Gerrard's fitness, and Capello, who has reluctantly accepted the FA's decision, will consider other candidates such as Scott Parker and Gareth Barry, although the Manchester City man is not guaranteed a place in the starting XI.
Terry is understood to be considering his international future in the wake of the decision. It is thought to have left him deeply disappointed.
The Chelsea captain, who insists he is not guilty of charges that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand, will not take a "knee-jerk" decision, however, and will consult his lawyers about the legal implications of his next move.
His commitment to the England cause will be tested later this month when Capello selects a squad to play a friendly against Holland at Wembley.
The FA's lack of consultation with Capello left him angry, particularly at the speed with which the FA moved. The FA privately admits Capello is not happy with the decision.
Capello was informed by Bernstein only on Thursday, a week after the Italian had made a personal call to Terry to reassure him that he remained his first choice to lead England in the summer.
The England manager is also understood to have visited Terry at Chelsea's training ground since he was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence to deliver the same message.
Sources close to Capello said that he appreciated that Terry's role was vulnerable following the lengthy adjournment of his case, but he felt undermined at the swiftness with which Bernstein acted.
The decision to omit Capello from deliberations was quite deliberately taken by Bernstein, who was keen to take the decision at board level, with the FA's wider responsibilities in mind, rather than rely on the input of its most highly-paid employee.
Capello has already announced he is leaving after Euro 2012, but Bernstein and the FA board had to balance the short-term feelings of the manager against their wider role as a regulator.
The multiple controversies over alleged racist incidents this season, particularly the eight-match ban handed to Liverpool's Luis Suarez, are understood to have weighed heavily in the board's deliberations.
By acting to remove Terry "in the interests of all parties" Bernstein and the board are hopeful that they can retain the FA's moral authority to adjudicate in racism matters without prejudicing Terry's trial.
The decision came two days short of the two-year anniversary of Terry being stripped of the captaincy for a first time, after his alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's former partner, Vanessa Perroncel.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas confirmed that Terry was "disappointed" to have lost the England captaincy.
However, he insisted: "John is a person of great mental strength and great personal convictions. He has to move on." Villas-Boas said that he "did not agree" with the FA's decision. From Chelsea's perspective nothing has changed, and he stays as club captain.
"We've made it clear," said Villas-Boas. "It's the club and manager's decision to support the player up to the moment of the court."
Terry will not face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, due to a bruise on the bone of his knee. "It is always a blow to be without him," Villas-Boas said. "He is captain and leader on and off the pitch and he's a great player. We will miss him."
With Chelsea now in fourth place, seven points behind third-placed Tottenham, Villas-Boas concedes his side have not improved over the season: "The beginning of the season was our best sequence of results and best football."
If Chelsea fail to catch Tottenham, it would be their worst Premier League finish under the ownership of Roman Abramovich. Villas-Boas was confident that next season Chelsea would be closer to the level expected of them. "I didn't want to be allowed a transitional period," he said.
"At this level you shouldn't be allowed a transitional year. But the project for next year is good and we will be able to compete at a different level." (© Daily Telegraph, London).