England’s manager Fabio Capello was set for talks about his own future with the Football Association on Monday after publicly condemning their decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.
And a former FA insider warned Capello, had put his own position in jeopardy ahead of this year’s European football championships in Poland and the Ukraine.
“It is being taken very seriously by the FA because it may be that Fabio Capello has breached his contract,” David Davies, who was the FA’s international director, told the BBC on Monday.
Terry (31) was relieved of his duties on Thursday due to an ongoing court case in which he is accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers centre-back Anton Ferdinand during a match last year.
But the Chelsea centre-back remains available for England selection as a player.
“You have to ask what his motive is,” Davies said regarding the comments of Italian boss Capello, who earns a reported £6-million-a-year as England manager.
“You have to suspect he wants to prevent John Terry retiring as a player before Euro 2012 but there are wider issues … You could have what some of the media are calling a morality circus while England are trying to win the second major tournament in football [since lifting the 1966 World Cup on home soil] … A contract may have been breached, there is strong leadership now at the FA from [chairperson] David Bernstein. Last week he wasn’t slow to take things forward and he may not be slow to do so now.”
Capello was angered the FA had stripped Terry of the captaincy before his court case had been concluded and made his feelings clear on a football programme on Italian Rai public TV on Sunday.
“I don’t agree with the decision, I spoke with the chairman [Bernstein] telling him that in my opinion Terry cannot be punished until the court’s decided — that’s the civil justice, not the sporting one — that Terry has done that which he is accused of,” Capello said.
“For that I felt it was right that Terry should keep the captain’s armband … However, the fact that the board has taken this decision is their right when it comes to England.”
Former England manager Graham Taylor said Capello’s remarks could only harm England’s Euro 2012 preparations.
“Fabio Capello, having been told by the FA in a private situation what they were going to do, has been a little bit unwise to come out as publicly as this,” Taylor told the BBC on Monday.
“Whoever he makes as captain knows that he is not the manager’s choice. That in itself doesn’t help the dressing room … It doesn’t help the situation at all, as England go into the European Championships. I can’t see what Capello’s agenda is. All it does is disturb everything even more … To come out in this public fashion actually, in one respect, gives England an even bigger problem for the selection and harmony of the squad for the European Championships.”
Terry’s court case is not due to take place until July 9, after Euro 2012, and the FA — who said they had not consulted Capello — felt it would be inappropriate to keep him as captain with the allegations hanging over his head.
“This decision has been taken due to the higher profile nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch, and the additional demands and requirements expected of the captain leading into and during a tournament,” an FA statement said on Thursday.
The case has attracted huge media attention in England, due in no small part to the fact that the England dressing-room is a multi-racial environment and is likely to include Ferdinand’s brother Rio.
This is not the first time Terry has been stripped of the captaincy.
Two years ago, following allegations about an affair with a teammate’s ex-girlfriend surfaced in the British press, Terry was removed as captain with Rio Ferdinand installed in his place.
But due to Rio Ferdinand’s injury problems making him often unavailable for England duty and a messy episode in a friendly against Denmark a year ago in which the captain’s armband was handed around like a pass-the-parcel package, Capello decided to reinstate Terry.
Having been snubbed then, Rio Ferdinand has already publicly claimed he is no longer interested in the role.
Terry has always strongly protested his innocence and has been backed by his club manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has kept him as Chelsea captain.
“It is an unfortunate event and an event which doesn’t dignify British football,” Villas-Boas said. — AFP