English FA refuses to rule out another foreign manager of the national team
Chairman David Bernstein says a British or English coach is preferable
Italian Fabio Capello has quit as England coach ahead of the Euro 2012 finals
Bernstein says the delay of John Terry's court case made matters more difficult
Fabio Capello’s successor as manager of England’s national football team could yet be another foreigner, its ruling body confirmed on Thursday.
The Football Association had previously indicated that an Englishman would most likely take charge when the Italian was to stand down when his contract was due to expire after the Euro 2012 finals in June and July.
However, the 65-year-old’s shock decision to quit on Wednesday, in anger at being left out of the decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy, has left the FA in limbo.
Capello’s assistant Stuart Pearce, who coaches the under-21 team and will be boss of Great Britain’s Olympic side at London 2012, will stand in on a caretaker basis for this month’s friendly with the Netherlands and possibly other matches before the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
The favorite to take over, Harry Redknapp, has a contract with third-placed Premier League side Tottenham and has indicated he will focus on his club duties for the rest of this season.
“We will do this as quickly and sensibly as we can but don’t want to rush the process. We want to do it properly, do it professionally,” FA chairman David Bernstein told reporters on Thursday.
“We will put a shortlist together of key people. We will do it as soon as we can. It will be a major priority for us.”
Capello replaced an Englishman, Steve McClaren, after England failed to reach Euro 2008. Despite good form in qualifying matches his team crashed out of the 2010 World Cup in the second round after being thrashed 4-1 by Germany.
McClaren’s predecessor was Sweden’s Sven Goran Eriksson, the first non-Englishman to hold the role in his spell from 2001-2006.
“No, he will not definitely be English,” Bernstein said of the next team manager. “Clearly there’s a preference for an Englishman. The position hasn’t changed.
“There’s a preference for an English person or a British person but in the end we want the best person. So I’m not prepared to rule out anything at this stage. Clearly an English or British person would have a good start on the matter.”
Bernstein insisted that England’s plans for the Euros had not been thrown into disarray.
“We are in very good shape in many ways,” he said. “The organisational matters for the Euros are in place – our base camp, training camp and all else.
“There’s plenty of time. The squad won’t get together until May so there is time for a new man to get in place and do what he needs to do building up to the competition. I think we’re actually in a much better place than we appear to be.”
The issue of Terry’s court case, starting July 9 after the finals when the defender faces charges of racially abusing a black opposing player last October, led to the rift between Capello and the FA according to Bernstein.
“We all believed that the John Terry case would be dealt with in March or April,” he said. “When it was postponed we were taken by surprise like everybody else was taken by surprise.
“The board made a very quick and unanimous decision regarding the captaincy. I informed Fabio on Thursday evening as soon as the decision had been made. Fabio wasn’t happy but he accepted the board’s authority in the matter.
“On Sunday Fabio conducted an interview with an Italian broadcaster. That caused conjecture and huge public debate and frankly it was an unsatisfactory situation.
“We had a very frank meeting with Fabio. It was very civilized and at the end of it he decided he felt he had to go. I felt when Fabio offered the resignation it was in the interests of the FA and English football.”