The England manager, Fabio Capello, is understood to have been angered by the decision by the Football Association board to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.
The decision, prompted by Terry's appearance in court to answer charges of racially aggravated abuse, was conveyed to the player by the FA chairman, David Bernstein, by telephone at 10am yesterday.
Capello is on holiday in Italy and was informed of the decision on Thursday night, after the 14 board members had discussed the issue for most of the day. Capello will not protest publicly but he holds the view that Terry should have been able to defend himself in court before his case affected his professional position. The Italian told the player as much at a recent meeting at the Chelsea training ground.
Bernstein canvassed the opinion of FA board members when it was announced on Wednesday that Terry's case, over alleged remarks made towards Anton Ferdinand of Queen's Park Rangers in October, was to be adjourned until 9 July, after the European Championship. Some board members, such as the Manchester United chief executive, David Gill, and the Bolton Wanderers chairman, Phil Gartside, were in London for a Premier League stakeholders meeting.
The FA made the decision on the grounds of it being inappropriate for Terry to be captain, given the serious nature of the allegations against him, rather than any suggestion he may have divided the England dressing room. Bernstein carried with him the 13 other board members, some of whom were not convinced initially that removing the captaincy was the right course.
The decision came two days short of the two-year anniversary of Terry being stripped of the captaincy for a first time, after his alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's former partner, Vanessa Perroncel. Terry, who is out of tomorrow's game against Manchester United with injury, is expected to retire from international football after Euro 2012.
The England manager will announce his next squad on 26 February, before a friendly against the Netherlands three days later. He will have to select a new captain for the third time in four years. After yesterday's decision, the Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, Anton's older brother, used Twitter to say that he did not wish to be considered as a successor.
The strong indication last night was that Capello would opt for the Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, who was installed as Ferdinand's deputy following Terry's first sacking as England captain two years ago.
Gerrard eventually captained the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, following Ferdinand's injury during training. However, Gerrard last played for England more than 14 months ago and there are fears over his susceptibility to injuries. Those in Capello's camp are insistent that Terry's replacement will be one of the senior players but not a goalkeeper, which rules out Manchester City's Joe Hart.
In a statement released yesterday, the FA said it had expected Terry's case to be heard before the European Championships.
The statement said: "Further to Wednesday's confirmation that the trial will not take place until after the tournament, 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.
"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 board can confirm that he has not been excluded from the squad and that Fabio Capello is free to select him for the Holland fixture on 29 February and the European Championship. The FA chairman, David Bernstein, has spoken to both John Terry and Fabio Capello to explain the facts to them.
"Fabio Capello has not been involved in the FA board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands that the FA Board has authority to make this decision. Capello will take the decision as to who will be made captain moving forward. This decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against Terry."
Contenders for captaincy ... and their charge sheets
Found not guilty of affray after admitting hitting a Liverpool bar DJ in 2008 – he claimed self-defence. In fitting but more prosaic style for an England captain, caught drink-driving and banned for nine months aged 19.
England's captain must be a diplomat, a flag-bearer for his country, right? Enter Frank... There's that post-9/11 drinking session in a Heathrow hotel, where he, John Terry and others managed to upset grieving American guests; a sex video with Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer in Ayia Napa; plus alleged infidelities to Spain's Elen Rives. Ban Ki-moon he ain't.
Squeaky clean. Can be forgiven on grounds of extreme youth that junk food-promoting ball-juggling advert when he was 13.
Like Parker, little public controversy: mildly tainted by a 2010 drunken stag-do with Joe Hart. That said, once stripped of Villa captaincy after agitating for a Liverpool move.
Stand-out indiscretion was being filmed swigging a bottle of Malibu while dancing on a bar in Puerto Banus at 3am while his entourage, including Barry, chanted "Jager Jagerbomb, Jager Jagerbomb" 72 hours before an England match in 2010. "You have to be a bit smart about how you do it," Hart has said of drinking. Captaincy material.
Already suspended for two of England's three group matches. That's before we talk grannies, prostitutes and criticising England fans in South Africa.
Where to start? To fans he's "Cashley" ("£55,000 – I nearly swerved off the road"); to Cheryl Cole fans he's an adulterer; to police he's familiar; and to Chelsea's interns he's a liability with a gun.
Teetotal angel – hard to see how other players would relate to him.
Yet to earn respect of team-mates by doing anything remotely irresponsible but has shown potential by buying, aged 19, a £130,000 Aston Martin.
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