Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman says that the FA had to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.
The Chelsea defender is awaiting trial after denying a charge of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match last October, with the criminal charge against him being announced on December 21.
He was stripped of the captaincy on February 3, just two days after it was revealed his trial would be held after Euro 2012.
Terry was previously stripped of the England armband following allegations he had an affair with an England team-mate’s ex-girlfriend two years ago but manager Fabio Capello reinstated him as captain last March.
There has been much criticism over the timing of the trial and of Terry’s involvement in the England team but Triesman believes the FA had little choice but to remove him of the captaincy.
“I think the decision was inevitable and I’m very pleased and a bit relieved [FA chairman] David Bernstein has taken that decision,” Triesman told BBC Radio 5 live’s ‘Sportsweek’.
“The only anxiety I have is it’s taken rather too long to get to this point.”
“The truth is a serious allegation that is not proved yet. In most organisations it would mean you simply could not go on as you were for this length of time.”
“I sometimes think football is in a bit of a bubble and the things that happen in the rest of the world don’t apply to football. Well, I’m afraid they do.”
“If someone is charged with what is a significant criminal offence, I think that is probably the moment that almost every organisation would act.”
“I suspect most people when faced with this kind of difficulty do conclude they should stand down and clear their name. That is a significant preoccupation.”
Terry has been backed by his club manager Andre Villas-Boas, who dismissed any speculation that he would remove him as the Chelsea captain.
But Triesman said the potential disruption and tension in the dressing room meant that there was no choice but to strip him of the role for the national team.
“We’ve got to the point where there is not just potential disruption in the dressing room, but a significant charge that is going to be heard in court,” he added.
“Fabio Capello knows the dressing room and knows if it will be creating tension. The distinguishing thing about John Terry’s position is that he’s England captain.”
“With that honour comes a very large responsibility and so, in these circumstances, the one thing the FA couldn’t have continued with was John Terry as captain.”