NEWS
02/02/2012 04:23 GMT

John Terry Faces Calls To Give Up England Captaincy Over Accusations Of Racism

John Terry is facing calls to step down from the captaincy of the England football team until accusations that he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand are resolved.

The Chelsea player has denied the charge and is currently due to lead England into the UEFA European Football Championship this summer.

The court case has been adjourned and he is not due to stand trial until 9 July, after the tournament is over.

Tory MP Damian Collins, a member of the culture, media and sport committee, said Terry should relinquish the captaincy.

"John Terry should stand aside as captain until the case is resolved, and any doubt either way removed," he tweeted on Wednesday night.

Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts has also called for Terry to be suspended from the England team until the case is over.

"I do not believe that the England Captain should go to the Euro's," he tweeted.

Terry's presence in the dressing room could also cause problems for the Football Association behind the scenes as Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand's brother, is likely to be included in the squad.

Roberts added on Twitter: "Also more importantly, believe me...the dressing room at the Euros will be TOXIC unless the correct decision is made."

Terry, 31, is accused of a racially-aggravated public order offence after video footage which appears to show him shout an offensive comment at Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.

The player did not attend the short hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Wednesday, but his barrister George Carter-Stephenson QC, entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

After the hearing, Terry's lawyer made the statement: "Mr Terry has consistently and resolutely maintained [that] remarks were made in...belief that he was being accused of racist abuse.

"Mr Terry denies making any racist statement and will establish in court that he is not guilty of any such offence.

"Mr Terry has never racially abused another player in his entire career."

Chelsea Football Club is standing by Terry, who has said he will "fight tooth and nail" to prove his innocence. If found guilty he could be fined up to £2,500. However the damage to the football captain's reputation could prove much more costly, losing valuable sponsorship and advertising deals.

Terry has already lost the captain's armband once in his international career. He was replaced by Rio Ferdinand in 2010 following reports he had an affair with the former partner of England team-mate Wayne Bridge.