For the second time in his football career, John Terry was yesterday given the news that he was to be stripped of his England captaincy. Fabio Capello was left unconsulted and will once again return from Italy to find his team a shambles, a mere four months before a major tournament.

Source: Telegraph

Surely this begs the question of why 14 men in a board room can make such career defining decisions, based merely on allegations? Whether or not John Terry is innocent is irrelevant; we live in a democratic society whereby we are all innocent until proven guilty. Except in football it seems.

Whilst this ethos may become slightly more difficult in Terry’s case considering that the accusations come from Rio Ferdinand’s brother, surely the point still stands? Though David Bernstein may insist that the decision “in no way infers any suggestion of guilt”, the very opposite is inherent within it.

That the allegations reflect badly on the team is a charge that cannot be denied, however striking Terry off before a ruling has been made, equally does nothing to repair England’s reputation. The argument that the court process could affect Terry’s ability to do his job hold more weight; though surely this is a decision Terry and Capello would have to decide?

Unity of the English team is of course important, but surely players should be able retain professionalism at all times, regardless of any allegations? For me at least, this whole process appears somewhat shambolic.

Taken from


To draw one obvious topical comparison, Chris Huhne resigned not because he was found guilty of an offence, but simply because the CPS are taking charges against him to court. You know, court, that place where charges are fairly judged, before which they are to be treated as simply allegations?

He clearly faced pressure to step down before even getting a chance to fight charges fairly, which is seemingly a privilege that only those not in the public eye enjoy.

Much like Terry, he too has been found guilty by allegation alone, punished not by due process, but by the demands of the PR machine surrounding the two fields. It's a little worrying that public opinion has decided to move at a speed faster than cases like this can be fairly judged.

In both cases, the trend of pre-emptive punishment seems a bit Minority Report to me.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?