Fabio Capello, the England manager, will meet the Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, today for talks on the Italian's publically-stated unhappiness over the governing body's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.
The pair will meet at the FA headquarters at Wembley, where Bernstein will have frank words with the 64-year-old about the FA board's view of him announcing live on Italian television that he "absolutely" disagreed with the Terry decision on Sunday night.
The next move will be dictated by the tone of those talks but currently there is little appetite among the board to part company with Capello before the end of his contract in July. Much will depend on how he responds to Bernstein, who will report back to the 14-strong FA board
The FA board still wants assurances from Capello that he will not launch an all-out public assault on their decision over Terry when he begins to resume speaking to the media in an official capacity ahead of the friendly against the Netherlands on 29 February. The FA agree that it would be intolerable to have a public rift with their manager in the next few weeks.
Bernstein will explain why the FA arrived at their decision to take the captaincy from Terry after his case for racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand was adjourned last week until 9 July – after Euro 2012. The meeting coincides with a likely verdict today for Harry Redknapp, the most obvious successor to Capello, on his tax evasion charges.
In an interview with the broadcaster CNN, the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, said that he sympathised with the predicament that Capello found himself in, caught between player and employer.
Ferguson said: "There has to be some communication regarding the issue. I know Fabio has been abroad but he's back now so the next few days should reveal everything. It's a difficult situation for both sides. When you are the manager of a team and have a captain that is an important part of that team then you don't want to lose him, so I can understand there's a lot of discussion and controversy about it."
Terry's manager at Chelsea, Andre Villas-Boas, who has given the player his full backing over the case and has no plans to suspend him, said that Capello was justified in speaking out against the FA's decision. The Portuguese said: "He has the right to his opinion and to share that defence with the player."