Four months before he is due to coach England at the European Championship, Fabio Capello publicly criticized his employers on Sunday for going against his wishes and removing John Terry as captain.
Terry was stripped of the armband by the English Football Association on Friday, two days after his trial for racially abusing an opponent was scheduled to be held after the European Championship.
Capello told Italy’s state broadcaster RAI that he “absolutely” did not agree with the decision to dump Terry before the Chelsea defender had his day in court.
FA chairman David Bernstein fired Terry because of the difficulty in holding the high-profile captaincy role at Euro 2012 — which runs from June 8 to July 1 — when the player’s fate on criminal charges won’t be known until after his trial starts on July 9.
Bernstein said on Friday that Capello “understands that the FA Board has authority to make this decision,” but the Italian has now revealed his annoyance at the move.
“I spoke with the chairman and I told him that I don’t think someone can be punished until it becomes official,” Capello told RAI via video from London. “The court will decide. It’s going to be civil justice, not sports justice, to decide if John Terry committed that crime that he is accused of. And I thought it fair that John Terry keeps the captain’s armband.”
It is the second time Terry has lost the captaincy of England.
Capello was part of the decision-making process when Terry was dumped ahead of the 2010 World Cup following allegations he had an affair with a former girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge.
Terry, who has played 72 times for England since his debut in 2003, was reinstated last March after Capello said “one year’s punishment is enough.”
Six months later, police investigated allegations that Terry allegedly shouted racial abuse at Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s 1-0 loss at Queens Park Rangers. Prosecutors decided to charge him in December with a racially aggravated public order offense.
Terry was allowed to lead England in a friendly against Sweden in November at Wembley Stadium, but the prospect of the racism allegations hanging over the captain throughout Euro 2012 appears to have forced the FA’s hand.
The 65-year-old Capello is due to leave as England coach after Euro 2012, a job he has held since 2008, but his plans for the tournament have now been disrupted. England opens against France on June 11.
Before the 2010 World Cup, the former Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma coach was briefly at odds with the FA over a commercial online venture in which he was supposed to rate players — including his own.
The “Capello Index” was abandoned after concerns it could unsettle the squad. England was eventually knocked out in the last 16.