The FA facing tough Terry decision


You know something's amiss when you're feeling sorry for The Football Association.

The way the governing body treats supporters with ridiculous ticket prices for domestic finals, coupled with their disciplinary system, which is consistent only in its inconsistency, makes it a prime target for criticism.

In addition, the English media and The FA's persistence in ostracising FIFA following the failure of England's 2018 World Cup bid, only worked to mask previously unfounded accusations of corruption from former chairman Lord Triesman, an incident that was seemingly forgotten following the lack of support for the bid come the voting process.

However, in a year where football is expected to live in the shadow of the London Olympic Games, an event that will expose our country's integrity as a dominant sporting nation, The FA have to make a decision that could call their own integrity into question.

The confirmation that John Terry's trial for alleged racist abuse will take place after the climax of this summer's European Championships, on July 9, leaves The FA with a tough decision to make over whether the Chelsea defender will be free to participate.

Had the trial been before the championships, The FA will have been fully entitled to follow the lead of the Crown Prosecution Service and act appropriately. However, with the trial having been delayed, they'll be forced into making a decision.

Whether manager Fabio Capello, who will leave his position as manager after this summer's finals, has any say on a possible ban remains uncertain.

The Italian reinstated Terry as skipper mid-way through England's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, 12 months after stripping him of the captaincy following allegations surrounding his off-the-field behaviour.

Capello opted to replace the then captain Rio Ferdinand with Terry, with the boss being criticised for not consulting with the Manchester United player face-to-face.

Ferdinand was reportedly upset how the issue was dealt with last March, and his opinion over the future of Terry could prove decisive in how The FA tackle the Chelsea skipper’s continued presence in the England setup.

With the charges being brought against Terry relating to an alleged incident between the Blues skipper and Rio's brother, Anton Ferdinand, the former Leeds United centre-back has more than a vested interest in the current situation.

He'll have the opportunity to make his feelings surrounding Terry public this weekend, when Chelsea host United in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

Should Ferdinand decide against shaking the hand of Terry, a decision that was literally taken out of Anton's hands last weekend, it would send a clear message to The FA that the Chelsea man is unlikely to be welcomed with open arms into the England squad come this summer.

While it shouldn't force The FA into banning Terry outright, relinquishing him of a position of authority would be a sensible step going into a major finals.

Capello took a similar line when faced with problems surrounding Terry's alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-partner; there's no reason why the same approach shouldn't be adopted this time around.

Whether Terry should be selected should be solely a management decision, with Capello best equipped to decide whether his presence would fracture the squad's harmony in Poland and Ukraine.

Bridge's decision to retire from international football made Capello's decision to stick with Terry in his team an altogether easier one. It's unlikely Ferdinand senior will hand him the same luxury.

The problem The FA face is that Terry is deemed innocent until proven guilty, but the nature of the allegation and the impact on particular members of the existing squad means that their stance will spark controversy either way.

Many will note that any allegation of such an offence would justify a suspension in a normal workplace. As if we need another reminder of the fact, The FA risk further distancing the game from the remainder of society if they set a separate agenda for Terry.

Further problems may occur following the trial involving Harry Redknapp, with the 64-year-old hotly tipped to replace Capello after Euro 2012.

The FA will be forced into deciding whether they should follow constitutional law, or risk damaging the harmony of the England football team. Rather them than me.

News Now - Sport News