John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy by Football Association officials due to concerns about his impending trial over racism allegations.
The Chelsea defender has been told that he will not skipper the national side as Euro 2012 looms as he fights to clear his name in a racism trial that will take place in the summer, although he will still be eligible for selection.
Officials at the FA are refusing to confirm the move but it is believed FA chairman David Bernstein broke the news to Terry in a 10am phone call after speaking with every member of the 14-strong board after confirmation the 31-year-old's court case will take place from July 9 - after Euro 2012.
Terry suffered the indignity of losing the captaincy after the majority of the FA board decided that he should quit the position over allegations that he racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand, a charge which he denies.
An official FA statement reads: "Following the decision to adjourn the court case against John Terry to July, The Football Association confirm he will not captain the England team until the allegations against him are resolved.
"The FA Board expected the trial to be concluded prior to the European Championship. Further to Wednesday’s confirmation that the trial will not take place until after the tournament, the Board has discussed the matter in detail and has collectively decided it is in the interests of all parties that John has the responsibilities of captaincy removed at this time.
"This decision has been taken due to the higher profile nature of the England captaincy, on and off the pitch, and the additional demands and requirements expected of the captain leading into and during a tournament."
This decision in no way infers any suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry. The FA will be not be making any further comment on this matter.It is the second time the Chelsea centre-half has been stripped of the England armband as he also lost the role two years ago amid allegations over his private life, althought the FA also confirmed that the defender will still be eligible for selection.
"The FA Board can confirm that he has not been excluded from the squad and that Fabio Capello is free to select him for the Holland fixture on 29 February and the European Championship.
"FA Chairman David Bernstein has spoken to both John Terry and Fabio Capello to explain the facts to them. Fabio Capello has not been involved in The FA Board discussions which reached this conclusion, but understands that The FA Board has authority to make this decision.
"Fabio Capello will take the decision as to who will be made captain moving forward."The FA decided that it was inappropriate for Terry to remain as a figurehead for the country due to the seriousness of the allegations that are hanging over him currently and have acted with urgency to resolve the situation.
Action was taken after concern was expressed about the FA’s ability to take the moral high ground should racism rear its head at Euro 2012 if Terry remained the team’s figurehead.
The FA’s next board meeting is not due to take place until February 23 but Bernstein has expedited the matter, as pressure on the game’s governing body to act intensified following Terry’s not-guilty plea before magistrates on Wednesday.
Terry's barrister entered the formal not guilty plea at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
England manager Fabio Capello had insisted that Terry should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty and he wanted to make the decision but the FA board have taken the matter out of the Italian’s hands.
A spokesman for the player was unavailable for comment on Friday morning.