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Terry removed as England captain, can still play

John Terry was removed as England's soccer captain Friday as he awaits trial for racial abuse. The star Chelsea defender remains eligible to play for the national team at the European Championship.

The English Football Association said Terry will be stripped of his captaincy "until the allegations against him are resolved."

Terry faces trial in July on charges of racially abusing Queens Park defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game in October.

"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," the FA said.

In 2010, Terry lost the captaincy before the World Cup over allegations he had an affair with the former girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge.

England coach Fabio Capello was not consulted about this latest decision. The British government backed the FA's ruling.

"It would have been impossible for John Terry to have continued as captain with this charge over his head," Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said.

Capello and the FA had expected the 31-year-old Terry's trial would take place before the European Championship in Ukraine and Poland. But a judge Wednesday delayed the trial until July 9, a week after the Euro 2012 final, after Chelsea said it would be difficult for players to testify during the Premier League season.

Chelsea said Terry will remain captain of the club. Terry will miss Sunday's match against Manchester United because of a knee injury.

"It was the FA's decision," Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said Friday. "I don't agree with it."

Terry has played 72 times for England since his debut in 2003. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is now in line to take over as England captain. Vice captain Rio Ferdinand said Friday he does not want the job again after being dropped from the role by Capello last year.

This season has been marred by racism allegations, with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez completing an eight-match ban for repeated racial abuse of Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a match in October.