Footballer John Terry paid the price for his alleged relationship with a lingerie model yesterday when he was stripped of the England captaincy.
The announcement came after a short meeting between the 29-year-old and the national team's manager Fabio Capello at Wembley.
The woman at the centre of the allegations, Vanessa Perroncel (33) looked stunned and mouthed “Oh my God... he's been dropped” as the news broke.
The French underwear model had just announced she would not be selling her story and was said to be “very sad” on learning about Terry's fate.
The Football Association has been desperate to avoid a crisis in the run-up to this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.
Reports about Terry's relationship with Ms Perroncel, the former partner of fellow England star Wayne Bridge, had put pressure on Capello to act.
The initial reports, which came after a high court gagging order taken out by Terry's lawyers was lifted, were followed by further allegations.
Capello, who has a reputation as a stern disciplinarian, informed Terry he had been relieved of his captain's armband after the Chelsea star drove to Wembley for a crunch meeting.
The player later vowed to continue to serve his country.
“I fully respect Fabio Capello's decision,” he said in a statement released to Press Association Sport. “I will continue to give everything for England.”
Capello said he had come to the decision based on what was “best for all of the England squad”.
He said: “After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry.
“As a captain with the team John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad.
“What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice. John Terry was notified first.
“When I chose John Terry as captain I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice. There is no reason to change this decision.”
The move means vice-captain Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United will replace the Chelsea man, with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard acting as his deputy.
As Terry was learning his fate Ms Perroncel, who has a son with Wayne Bridge, stood quietly by her publicist Max Clifford as he read a statement on her behalf.
Moments later she turned, open-mouthed in shock, as she heard he had been stripped of the captaincy.
The petite model, wearing a black quilted jacket and black skinny jeans, shook her head and mouthed: “Oh my God... he's been dropped” as she digested the news.