The Football Association, chairman David Bernstein, has cast doubt on an immediate England return for John Terry, saying that he considered the former captain still to be in retirement.
Terry quit international football in September last year, saying that his position had become "untenable". He was about to face an FA disciplinary process over charges of racial abuse – which found him guilty, leading to a four-game ban and a £220,000 fine – having previously been cleared of the offence in a magistrates' court.
The Chelsea captain, though, made it known last month that he would be keen to return to international football if the England manager, Roy Hodgson, selected him.
But the FA chairman, whose hand Terry declined to shake at an event last month, poured cold water on the idea of the player's England return.
"I think that's an academic question, because he's in retirement," said Bernstein. "He's not announced he's coming out of retirement – and if he did, the initial decision will be down to the manager.
"I'm not going to comment personally on it. But one thing about John Terry is that he always used to take his football seriously and therefore I took his retirement seriously. Until I hear to the contrary – he stays retired."
There was some criticism of the fact that Terry was only banned for four games for his racially abusive language but Bernstein said that the FA's new rules on punishments for racism should be published next week after long consideration.
"I am hoping next week we will be announcing the first tranche," Bernstein said, referring to deliberations which should emerge from an FA Council meeting.
While new proposals from Uefa propose a 10-game ban for racism, the FA's are likely to be different, with a lower starting point. The potential remains for a ban longer than 10-games if there are aggravating factors.
"We don't have to follow Uefa," said Bernstein. "Ours is a very detailed and thought-out proposal. It is not likely to be exactly in line with Uefa's. Ours will have a minimum but clear acceleration from that minimum, it may well go beyond the ten."
Meanwhile, Bernstein remains confident about England qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil. England are in second place in Group H, two points behind Montenegro. They have four qualifiers still to play, including three at home against Moldova, Montenegro and Poland.
"Heaven forbid if we don't' qualify," he said. "But life would still go on. We'd have to work for the next Euros. But there's every chance we will qualify. We've had one or two draws which weren't maybe right. We should have won those matches. But it's in our hands. We should be winning those matches at Wembley to go through."Reuse content