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John Terry sacked as England captain over affair allegations

Chelsea John Terry was sacked as England captain Friday as head coach Fabio Capello reacted ruthlessly to the defender's alleged extra-marital affair with the ex-girlfriend of international team-mate Wayne Bridge.


AFP - John Terry was sacked as England captain on Friday as head coach Fabio Capello reacted ruthlessly to the Chelsea defender's alleged extra-marital affair with the ex-girlfriend of international team-mate Wayne Bridge.

After a brief meeting with Terry at Football Association (FA) headquarters at Wembley, Capello said he had decided to take the captaincy away from the centreback in the overall interests of the squad he will take to the World Cup in South Africa in June and July.

"After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry," Capello said in a statement.

"As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad.

"What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice. John Terry was notified first."

Capello appeared to indicate that Rio Ferdinand, who is currently vice-captain of the national team, would take over as captain.

"When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice (Steven Gerrard)," he said. "There is no reason to change this decision."

Capello had been under intense pressure to strip the Chelsea defender of the captaincy from sections of the media that have spent the last week lambasting the married father of two over his alleged infidelity with Vanessa Perroncel, an underwear model who has a son with Bridge but is now estranged from the Manchester City left-back.

Terry had been strongly backed by his club coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has insisted that the player's private life will have no bearing on his position as Chelsea skipper, and Stuart Pearce, who coaches England's under-21s and helps Capello with the senior squad.

But it appears that Capello had made up his mind before a meeting that reportedly lasted only 12 minutes and finished with Terry in a distraught state.

In a statement, Terry said: "I fully respect Fabio Capello's decision. I will continue to give everything for England."

Capello, who is due to attend the Euro 2012 qualifying draw in Warsaw on Sunday, had picked Terry as his permanent captain in August 2008 having initially appeared to be leaning towards Gerrard or Ferdinand.

He has also spoken highly of the leadership qualities of Wayne Rooney, who captained England in a friendly against Brazil in November and could yet be the World Cup skipper given the injury problems Gerrard and Ferdinand have had this season.

Capello was left in no doubt about the extent to which the scandal has gripped the country when he was greeted by a huge media scrum at Heathrow airport on Thursday, following his return to England from Switzerland, where he had been recuperating from knee surgery.

The head coach was briefed by his assistant Franco Baldini on Thursday and it had been expected he would have a lengthy discussion with Terry on issues including whether he and Bridge will be able to play in the same squad and the possibility of further embarrassing revelations in the run-up to the World Cup.

Capello will not have been reassured on that score by a report in Friday's Daily Mail which claimed that an associate of Terry's management agents had offered to rent his personal box at Wembley stadium for a "cash" payment of 4,000 pounds (6,200 dollars).

The 12-seat box is one of Terry's perks as England captain and FA rules expressly forbid him from renting it to a third party. His spokesman denied that the player was involved in the alleged attempt to sell seats in the box.

Although Terry has been widely condemned in the press, a poll published Friday indicated that public opinion was fairly split with 46 percent of those quizzed supporting a sacking while 39 percent believe he should keep the captaincy.

Just over half of respondents to the PoliticsHome poll felt there was no need for the public to know about the affair, which only became public knowledge after a judge quashed an injunction against publication which Terry's lawyers had obtained on right-to-privacy grounds.

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