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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz