John Terry will remain England captain during racism investigation

 

John Terry will remain England captain for next month's friendly double-header with Spain and Sweden if the investigation into his alleged racist slur against Anton Ferdinand has not concluded.

The Football Association have no plans to suspend Terry as skipper pending the outcome of their inquiry, with the game's governing body adopting an "innocent until proven guilty" policy.

There is still no guarantee the Chelsea captain will lead his country out in either game at Wembley, with manager Fabio Capello planning to blood several of his fringe players during the back-to-back matches on November 12 and 15.

The FA last night launched an inquiry into allegations Terry racially abused Ferdinand during Chelsea's west London derby defeat at QPR on Sunday.

Terry responded by vowing to clear his name after categorically denying the claims, which are also being assessed by Metropolitan Police following an anonymous complaint.

Being found guilty after either the FA or police probe could have a ruinous effect on Terry's future in the game.

The 30-year-old has endured a difficult time over the last 12 months, with allegations that he slept with the ex-girlfriend of former team-mate Wayne Bridge costing him the England captaincy.

The Londoner regained the skipper's armband in March, but manager Fabio Capello could be forced to rescind it again - and even stop picking Terry altogether - if the defender is found guilty of racially abusing a fellow player.

He and Ferdinand both look likely to be quizzed by the FA during their inquiry, while a key witness could be Terry's Chelsea and England team-mate Ashley Cole.

The video footage which sparked the current storm shows Cole walking past Terry as he utters the words which some have interpreted as a racist slur.

Terry has admitted using the language but claimed he was actually responding to an accusation of racist abuse from Ferdinand and was simply denying using those words towards him.

The pair spoke after the game to clear the air and Terry assumed that was the end of the matter.

However, Press Association Sport understands Ferdinand has told QPR he was entirely unaware of any race row until after Sunday's match had finished.

It is this uncertainty that has prompted Rangers to ask the FA to get to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

That very confusion could also see Terry exonerated, with claims of on-field racism notoriously hard to prove even when the alleged victim is adamant it occurred.

The FA are also investigating allegations made by Manchester United defender Patrice Evra of racial abuse by Luis Suarez, which the Liverpool forward strenuously denies.

PA

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