FA takes England captaincy from Terry

    John Terry last captained England during a friendly match against Sweden in November.

    Story highlights

    • English FA decides that John Terry should not be England skipper ahead of his court case
    • Terry faces charges of racially abusing an opponent while playing for Chelsea last year
    • He will still be able to play for England at the Euro 2012 finals before the hearing begins
    • Chelsea's manager says the 31-year-old defender will remain captain of the London club
    John Terry has been stripped of the captaincy of England's national soccer team due to his court case over charges of alleged racial abuse, which starts in July.
    However, the English Football Association said that the Chelsea defender would still be able to play at the Euro 2012 finals, which will finish before the hearing begins on July 9.
    Terry's lawyer entered a not guilty plea at Wednesday's initial court visit, when the judge decided it would be better to start the case after the tournament because Chelsea's submission said key players would not be available as witnesses until then.
    "The Board has discussed the matter in detail and has collectively decided it is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time," the FA said in a statement on Friday.
    "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."
    The FA said the decision in no way suggests that Terry is guilty of making racial comments to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last October.
    When Chelsea and QPR met again in an FA Cup tie last weekend, the FA canceled the traditional pre-match handshake to defuse any tensions between the players.
    The FA said it had explained the decision to Terry and national coach Fabio Capello, who was not part of the discussions.
    The Italian can select the 31-year-old for England's next game against the Netherlands on February 29 and the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine from June 8-July 1. Terry has represented his country 72 times, first becoming captain after the 2006 World Cup.
    Ferdinand's older brother Rio said on Friday that he did not want to replace Terry as captain, as he did two years ago.
    "I don't want to be England captain after the last episode, just want to concentrate on playin for utd&if I make the squad then as ever I'll be delighted," the Manchester United player wrote on social networking website Twitter.
    Terry will keep his role as Chelsea captain, according to his manager Andre Villas-Boas.
    "It's really an FA decision. I have nothing to say about it. I don't agree with it," the Portuguese coach told reporters ahead of Sunday's Premier League match against Manchester United, which Terry will miss due to a knee injury.
    "The statement from the FA was pretty clear on what was their decision-making. John will continue to be our captain. It (the trial) doesn't compromise on my decision-making. It obviously compromises on the FA's decision-making."
    The FA's decision was backed by the British government, the UK Press Association reported.
    "I completely support the FA's decision," Sports minister Hugh Robertson said. "It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head."