Stamford Bridge skipper left in limbo.
Chelsea captain John Terry has had his court trial for racism delayed until July 9th – just eight days after the final of UEFA Euro 2012.
Of course, with England likely to crash out gloriously on penalties at the semi-final stage anyway, scheduling will not be Terry’s primary concern, but the trial will raise significant questions about his eligibility for national team selection – particularly in his more elevated role as captain.
Whilst of course anyone accused of a crime must be considered innocent until proven guilty, there are many cultural sensitivities which nonetheless ought to be considered.
Should Terry be proven guilty, England may well have been led at a major international tournament by someone found to have made racist comments.
That is not an image anyone wants to portray on behalf of the nation, with the United Kingdom now hoping to show a melting pot of multiculturalism and tolerance to the wider world.
Chelsea have stood by their player, with manager Andre Villas-Boas issuing some strong words in support of his skipper, but it will be interesting to see what their stance is after the verdict – either way.
It also will be a very difficult decision for England manager Fabio Capello, as Terry’s partner in central defence has often been Rio Ferdinand.
He is of course the brother of Anton Ferdinand, the player Terry is accused of racially abusing.
The very public nature of this trial means the ideal solution would have been to put it in the past as soon as possible so the country can move on – whether Terry is found innocent or guilty.
Unfortunately that has not proved the case, and the fallout from this story will continue in the coming months.