Capello loses trial of strength

Fabio Capello
Fabio Capello
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ENGLISH football is in disarray today after Fabio Capello sensationally quit as manager just four months before a major tournament.

Capello resigned from his £6m-a-year post at an emergency meeting with Football Association chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne in the wake of their decision to strip the captaincy from John Terry.

Soon after the meeting the Italian was quoted by Italian news media as making a blistering attack on his former employers, reportedly saying “they really insulted me and damaged my authority” and accusing the FA of betraying “the much-vaunted Anglo-Saxon sense of justice”.

The FA went over Capello’s head and took action against Terry after it emerged the defender’s trial on charges of racially abusing another player would not take place until July – after the European Football Championships.

An Italian news agency reported Capello saying: “They really insulted me and damaged my authority. What really hit me and forced me to take this decision was the fact the much-vaunted Anglo-Saxon sense of justice, as they are the first to claim that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

“In Terry’s case, they gravely offended me and damaged my authority at the head of the England side, effectively creating a problem for the squad.

“I have never tolerated certain crossing of lines, so it was easy for me to spot it and take my decision to leave.”

Capello had previously criticised the FA’s actions during an interview with Italian television, saying he “absolutely” disagreed with the decision.

An FA statement read: “The Football Association can confirm that Fabio Capello has today resigned as England manager.

“This follows a meeting involving FA chairman David Bernstein, FA general secretary Alex Horne and Fabio Capello at Wembley Stadium. The discussions focused on the FA board’s decision to remove the England team captaincy from John Terry, and Fabio Capello’s response through an Italian broadcast interview.

“In a meeting for over an hour, Fabio’s resignation was accepted and he will leave the post of England manager with immediate effect.”

Mr Bernstein said resignation was the right course of action.

The FA chairman said: “I would like to stress that during today’s meeting and throughout his time as England manager, Fabio has conducted himself in an extremely professional manner.

“We have accepted Fabio’s resignation, agreeing this is the right decision. We would like to thank Fabio for his work with the England team and wish him every success in the future.”

The shock resignation brings an end to Capello’s four years in charge of England. He had been due to step down after the European Championship.

The move leaves the door open for Harry Redknapp to take over. The Tottenham manager, seen by many as the natural successor since England’s dismal performance at the 2010 World Cup, was yesterday acquitted of tax evasion following a week-long trial.

The next international is later this month, a friendly against Holland on February 29 at Wembley.

Resignation timeline

The key events leading to Capello’s exit:

February 3: FA strip Terry of the captaincy in the wake of allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, allegations he denies. Terry continues to captain his club, Chelsea.

February 5: Capello gives an interview with Italian broadcaster RAI in which he states his anger at the decision.

February 6: Capello comes under fire for his comments. Former FA chief executive David Davies suggests they could be deemed as a breach of contract. However, Sir Alex Ferguson backs the stance of the former AC Milan manager.

February 8: Capello resigns following emergency meeting with the FA.