John Terry won’t be captain of the England soccer team until allegations of racial abuse against a fellow player are resolved, the Football Association said.
The F.A. said in a statement its board made the decision “in the interest of all parties.” The Chelsea player will stand trial on the charge July 9, a week after the 2012 European Championship ends.
“This decision has been taken due to the high nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch, and the additional demands and requirements expected of the captain leading into and during the tournament,” the statement read, adding Terry is still eligible to be selected for the squad.
Terry, 31, is charged with racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in an Oct. 23 Premier League match. He has denied the charge and his lawyers pleaded not guilty on his behalf two days ago in London criminal court.
The F.A. said its decision in no way “infers any suggestion of guilt” in relation to the charge against Terry.
It’s the second time Terry has lost the captaincy. England manager Fabio Capello stripped him of the role in Feb. 2010 over allegations of marital infidelity with the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge. He was then reinstated last March during Euro 2012 qualifying, with Capello saying “one year’s punishment is enough.”
The F.A. said Chairman David Bernstein spoke to both Terry and Capello about its decision.
“Fabio Capello was not involved in the F.A. board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands that the F.A. board has authority to make this decision,” the ruling body said, adding Capello will decide on the next captain.
The F.A. said it would have no further comment on the matter. England hosts the Netherlands Feb. 29 and Belgium June 6, visiting Norway in between. It then starts the European Championship against France June 11.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.