FA cast votes over John Terry captaincy

Legal implications of removing captaincy assessed before likely announcement today

The Football Association  was last night considering the legal ramifications of taking the England captaincy away from John Terry ahead of his trial over allegations of racial abuse in July. The governing body has faced growing calls for Terry to be relieved of his leadership duties for this summer's European Championship and could reach a decision as early as today.

The FA chairman, David Bernstein, yesterday canvassed the views of the other 12 board members over Terry's position. The FA is not legally bound to keep its own investigation into the allegations against Terry on ice until criminal proceedings are completed but has been cautioned by the Crown Prosecution Service over the danger of prejudicing the July trial.

Terry has pleaded not guilty to racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and the FA has so far supported Fabio Capello, the England manager, in his stance of backing the Chelsea defender to lead the national side on the grounds he is "innocent until proven guilty".

That may not bar the FA from removing the captaincy temporarily, or even the extreme of not selecting Terry for England duty until the case is settled. The FA will take legal advice before reaching any decision. Terry's position was discussed at a recent board meeting, but that came before the trial date was set for 9 July – a week after the European Championship final. Bernstein has shown himself willing to make bold calls and there is a need to make a decision well ahead of the next scheduled board meeting, six days before England's next match, a friendly against the Netherlands on 29 February.

Damian Collins, Conservative MP and a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: "This can be a defining moment for English football. If John Terry won't give up the armband, then the FA must take it from him."

The FA has given no indication it will resume its investigation into Terry after talks with the CPS. The inquiry was halted when the Metropolitan Police instigated its inquiries into allegations that Terry racially abused Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and Queen's Park Rangers last October. The problem for the FA is the huge publicity about any decision it made on Terry's innocence or guilt could lead to claims that the trial had been prejudiced.

"Any decision about an investigation is for the FA to make," a spokesperson for the CPS said yesterday. "We have met with the FA and explained the potential for prejudice of a criminal trial."

Simon Boyes, a specialist in sports law from Nottingham Law School , said: "If the FA conducted a hearing, made a finding – whatever the finding, it could compromise the fairness of the criminal trial because it would anticipate the outcome."

Four years ago a report commissioned by the British Horseracing Authority into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the trial of jockey Kieren Fallon reasoned that a governing body could pursue its own investigation in parallel with a criminal one.

The report, compiled by Dame Elizabeth Neville, stated: " There is no rule of law that provides that, merely because criminal proceedings are contemplated or have begun, private disciplinary proceedings must be stayed pending the outcome of those proceedings. On the contrary, the courts have held that there is a substantial public interest in such disciplinary proceedings continuing unhindered."

Fallon, who was cleared of all charges, was suspended by the BHA pending his trial, a decision that was upheld in the High Court. The BHA said it was protecting the integrity of the sport.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent