England news

Neville calls for clearer FA guidelines

February 5, 2012

Gary Neville has called on the Football Association to produce a clear set of rules regarding the sanctions England players might face if charged with criminal offences.

John Terry, Gary Neville
GettyImagesGary Neville feels clearer guidelines are needed

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The FA on Friday stripped John Terry of the England captaincy - while leaving him eligible for selection - as the Chelsea defender is facing a charge of racially aggravated abuse. Terry denies the charge.

Neville, writing in his column for the Mail on Sunday, branded the FA's actions "inconsistent, bowing to media pressure and half-hearted", saying there was a failure to act quickly and clearly due to the many voices who have a say in how the England team is managed.

Neville claimed the FA's own rules call for due process to run its course before any action is taken, so removing the captaincy goes against the association's own guidelines.

"After the threat of strike action in 2004, I attended an international board meeting with the PFA's Brendon Batson and soon after the FA's policy changed," Neville wrote.

"They let due process takes its course when a player was charged with an offence but, because racism is now such a sensitive issue, they have now bypassed that and written a new rule.

"Everyone should deplore racism, but how are we to judge which offences justify removal of the captain's armband or expulsion from the squad?

"Drink-driving is serious, but would it be okay if you got caught but had not killed anyone? What about assault? Is it okay if you hit someone just because a percentage of men may have done so at some point in their lives? Would we let due process run in those cases but not in John Terry's?"

Neville said the FA must now write clear rules to prevent a repeat in the future.

He wrote: "I'm not in favour of it, but if the FA introduced a rule that anyone charged with a criminal offence could not play for England until their case had been resolved - even if it involved one of England's best players - at least everyone would know where they stand."