Fabio Capello will have the final say on whether John Terry leads England at the World Cup after the Football Association left the decision in the Italian’s hands.
Capello will make his call “on footballing grounds”, the FA said, following the newspaper allegations that married Terry had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge.
Bridge, who is a former Chelsea team-mate of Terry and a current international colleague, has said he does not intend to comment on the reports. Bridge and Perroncel had a child together before splitting last year.
Capello may need to speak in private with both Terry and Bridge as he deliberates on the issue.
The Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has also offered to mediate if Terry and Bridge wish to talk.
An FA spokesman said last night: “Fabio is fully up to speed with developments regarding John Terry. He spoke with our chairman Lord Triesman and chief executive Ian Watmore today, who both backed him to make the best decision for England on footballing grounds.
“Fabio is dealing with the matter in his own way using his extensive experience as a football manager.”
Terry’s position has been the subject of speculation since he failed with a High Court injunction to stop newspapers reporting claims about the alleged affair.
Britain's Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has already stated that, should the allegations be proven, 29-year-old Terry’s role as skipper would be called into question.
A spokeswoman for Gordon Brown said that Mr Sutcliffe was “entitled to his opinion”, but made clear that the Prime Minister did not want to comment on the Terry case, leaving it to the FA and England management.
It is understood that Capello will make a swift decision regarding the man he appointed as captain in August 2008.
England’s next fixture is against Egypt on March 3 at Wembley, and Capello wants the captaincy issue resolved long before then.
Terry has led England with distinction. Should 63-year-old Capello decide a change in leadership is required, he would need to be certain that another man could follow Terry’s committed example, with the World Cup barely four months away.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has already declared his intention to retain Terry as club captain.
Capello returns to official duties later this week in time for Sunday’s Euro 2012 qualifying draw in Warsaw.
Shortly before the FA broke their silence on the matter, it was revealed that Perroncel has been offered £250,000 (€285,000) to tell her side of the story.
Publicist Max Clifford, who is representing Perroncel, said she is at the heart of a media bidding war.
Asked whether there was any truth behind the alleged affair, Clifford replied: “All I’m prepared to say is that she’s known John a long time and obviously I think during that time they’ve become very close friends but anything more than that, I wouldn’t want to say at this particular stage.
“It’s really for her to decide what she wants to do.”
Terry has two children with his wife, who has reportedly flown to Dubai with the youngsters.