Football player John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy for a second time.

The Chelsea defender was informed of the Football Association board’s decision shortly before 10am this morning in a telephone call with FA chairman David Bernstein.

The move comes just two days after a Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled Terry, 31, will stand trial on July 9 to answer a charge that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand.

He is accused of a racially-aggravated public order offence for allegedly shouting an obscene comment at Ferdinand as Chelsea took on west London rivals Queens Park Rangers in October last year.

The hearing – to take place in front of a district judge only – is expected to last up to five days and comes after this summer’s European Championships. Terry denies the charge.

Since the court date was set for after Euro 2012, he has faced repeated calls to stand down as England captain.
The FA’s decision to strip Terry of the captaincy came just hours after England manager Fabio Capello last night reiterated his wish for him to captain the national side at the tournament.

Terry will now take time to consider whether he wants to represent his country at all in the summer.

He will not be rushed into a decision, but is hurt by what he sees as a lack of support from the FA, when he has not been found guilty of any offence.

Ferdinand, who told officers he did not hear the alleged comments, is expected to give evidence during the trial.

Terry is also said to be relying on a discussion in the changing room regarding the incident as part of his defence.

Tony Connell, prosecuting, told Wednesday’s hearing that a lip-reader will be called, and clips uploaded on to YouTube will be relied on by the Crown.

There was anger last month after it emerged that Terry would be allowed to continue as England captain, despite being told that he must appear in court to answer the charge of using racist language on the field.

To the fury of anti-racism campaigners, top officials at the FA stayed silent after the footballer was formally summonsed over his alleged outburst against Ferdinand.

The multi-millionaire defender also continued to enjoy the backing of his club, Chelsea.

A spokesman for campaigning group Hope Not Hate said at the time: ‘It seems incredible that John Terry can continue as England captain while this charge is hanging over him.

‘Most members of an organisation facing similar charges would find themselves suspended until the matter is resolved. He is not even facing a football-related matter – this is a serious criminal charge which has attracted a huge amount of attention.’

The news that Terry has lost his England captaincy came less than a week after Ferdinand was spared from having to shake Terry’s hand before an FA Cup clash between Chelsea and QPR.

The FA gave the clubs permission not to take part in the traditional pre-match handshake, amid uncertainty as to whether Rangers defender Ferdinand would snub Terry.

It was the first time the two sides had met since Terry was charged with racially abusing Ferdinand during October’s Premier League game.
Prosecutors decided there was enough evidence of the incident last October, including TV images of the incident that were beamed around the world, to put him on trial.

He is accused of calling Ferdinand a ‘f****** black ****’ during the match at QPR’s Loftus Road stadium.

But afterwards he told Ferdinand, whose brother Rio plays alongside Terry for England, that the remarks had been taken out of context, insisting he actually said: ‘Oi, Anton, do you think I called you a black ****?’

The maximum punishment Terry faces if found guilty is a £2,500 fine, a sum he earns in just two hours and 38 minutes on his £160,000-a-week salary.

Terry has said he was ‘disappointed’ with the decision to charge him and that he hoped to clear his name ‘as quickly as possible’.
He said: ‘I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends.
‘I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence. I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society.’
Terry has lost the captaincy once before, in 2010, after claims that he had an affair with the ex-girlfriend of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge, but regained it earlier this year.

Racism is a terrible crime. Whether John Terry is guilty of racism is for the Courts to decide. What is quite interesting that the law of the land permits Terry to be innocent until proven guilty yet the FA strip him of his captaincy before he has a chance to defend himself in Court. That’s wrong!