Tottenham Hotspur
KAA Gent
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Borussia Monchengladbach
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Shakhtar Donetsk
Celta Vigo
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AS Roma
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Apoel Nicosia
Athletic Bilbao
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FC Dallas
Arabe Unido
1:00 AM UTC Feb 24, 2017
Leg 1
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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League

No FA plan to sack Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello will not be sacked for having the courage to publicly reprimand the Football Association for stripping John Terry of the captaincy, according to ESPNsoccernet sources.

• Capello 'disagrees' with FA on Terry
• JT considering England future - reports

Club England, the FA sub-section that looks after the national team, is meeting this week, and the matter is set to be high on its agenda.

Capello will also be back from his break in Italy and will have an opportunity to explain the circumstances of the interview. But it is hardly a sacking offence, and as one FA insider joked: "Everybody else disagrees with the FA, so why shouldn't the England manager?"

More seriously, ESPNsoccernet was told that the FA has not, and will not, be asking the question about Capello's position. Capello, in fact, has publicly stated nothing more than he had already told the FA when consulted on the issue of the England captain's position in the light of the racism allegations and the trial being deferred until after the European Championships.

Capello made it clear to the FA that he believes "everybody is innocent until proven guilty", and therefore Terry should not be stripped of the captaincy.

The first time the Chelsea captain was sacked as England captain, it was Capello who took the decision and he took it to relieve the pressure on his best centre-back, rather than punish him for the problems his private life would cause in the dressing room. In any case, the FA have no ready-made replacement, and thus cannot consider Capello's position on practical grounds.

Capello expressed his support for Terry because his only motive is to put out the best possible team in the European Championships and has no interest in the politics of English football.

"Fabio told the FA that he did not want John Terry stripped of the captaincy because he wants the best team and believes JT is the best leader on the pitch, that he is the best captain," said a source close to Capello. "However, he understands that it is for the FA to decide, but his feeling is quite straightforward - everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and if guilty then that is a different matter and someone can be punished."

Capello has never believed in the importance that is placed in the England captaincy. He has remained unbowed by press pressure throughout his reign and with a maximum of five months more in the job is unlikely to change that now.

"Fabio's selections are always based on one thing, and one thing only, for the good of the team," continued the source. "He wants to win in the European Championships and to do that he needs his best players, his best team."

Terry was reinstated as captain in March 2011, having lost it ahead of the 2010 World Cup, where Steven Gerrard led the team as a stand-in, once Rio Ferdinand had succumbed to injury ahead of the tournament. Terry's presence in the England camp was said to be disruptive but instead of choosing to not pick the Chelsea captain, Capello then reinstated him once Ferdinand's injuries began to lessen his availability.

"The problem at the World Cup wasn't the fact that Fabio selected Steven Gerrard as the captain, it was that JT wasn't the captain, but that is something that Fabio will not worry about," added the source. "He will solve the problem of JT not being captain."

In the meantime, Capello will not be quitting ahead of his last assignment as national coach of his adopted country.


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