John Terry faces a D-Day over his England captaincy with Football Association leaders expected to decide as early as today whether he should give up the armband due to his racism trial.
FA chairman David Bernstein yesterday contacted all the other members of the 12-strong board to seek their views on Terry’s captaincy after the announcement that the Chelsea defender’s court case, where he is accused of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand will not take place until July 9 – after Euro 2012.
More than one board member have argued strongly that Terry should not be the England figurehead with such a serious charge hanging over him, and that the FA should act immediately rather than putting off a decision until the next board meeting on February 23.
The spectre of England being forced to make a complaint about racist abuse from the crowd when playing matches in Ukraine this summer has been raised – it would be difficult for the FA to take the moral high ground if England’s captain is himself facing a criminal charge for racism.
Other board members believe the FA are in a no-win situation and that if they remove the England captaincy from Terry they will be accused of pre-judging the case and ignoring the principle of innocent-until-proven guilty. Terry’s barrister has entered a formal ‘not guilty’ plea at Westminster magistrates court.
England manager Fabio Capello is another factor and the Italian has previously insisted that he should be the one making the decisions over the captain.
The possible presence of Rio Ferdinand, Anton’s brother, in the England squad could also be a factor – something referred to by Reading striker and BBC radio pundit Jason Roberts who said: “Believe me...the dressing room at the Euros will be TOXIC unless the correct decision is made.”