FA chairman David Bernstein has confirmed that the process to find the next England manager will start tomorrow.
In a press conference at Wembley Stadium, Mr Bernstein described the last few days as "a challenging time" after revealing details of his recent meeting with outgoing boss Fabio Capello.
Mr Bernstein said: "It is regrettable when a manager leaves like this. In the end he decided he had to go.
"I agree that the manager is the most important person at a football club, but there are moments the chairman and board have to step up to the plate and a firm hand is required.
"We went into the meeting with an open mind, but we also went in with concerns. We had two meetings and there was no pressure on him after the first one. It was a full and frank meeting and was very much his decision.
"I accepted Fabio's resignation when he offered it in the interests of the FA and the English football. Sacking him didn't arise.
"The meeting ended with a handshake. Fabio did not storm out of the room, as has been reported."
The initial meeting lasted more than an hour as Mr Capello was asked for his account of a recent interview on Italian TV over the FA's decision to remove the captaincy from John Terry, who is due to stand trial in July over racial abuse allegations after an incident with Anton Ferdinand.
"Fabio went on to Italian television and caused conjecture and we were unhappy with the situation,” said Bernstein.
"We all believed the John Terry situation would be dealt with in March/April and were surprised when it was delayed.
"Fabio wasn't happy, but he accepted the board’s decision on the matter.
"I don't think we were wrong not to suspend Jonny Terry after the CPS decision. I think we got it absolutely right. The best solution is for the court to come to a solution but once the date of the hearing changed, it changed the whole dynamic. We did not want this hanging over us.
"I believe the principles are extremely important and it was done in the interests of English football."
The chairman moved on to discuss who will replace the Italian. He said: "The next manager will not definitely be English," he said. "I’d prefer an English or British manager, but it will be the best person. I don't want to rule anyone out at this stage.
"It's very early days in terms of a shortlist but the FA board will meet tomorrow."
Looking ahead to the Euro 2012 finals, Bernstein said: "We're in very good shape in many way. Organisational matters are in place and there is still plenty of time for a new manager to get into place to do what he needs to do.
"I can't get into discussions about any individuals. I don’t want to rush the process but it will be a major priority. That goes without saying.
"I know the importance of success and winning matches. We want a winning set-up and there will be total focus on getting the best person for the job in place as soon as possible."
Mr Bernstein confirmed that Under 21 boss Stuart Pearce will be in charge of the team for the forthcoming friendly against Holland, as interim manager. He said: "Stuart Pearce's first thought is for his country, without any conditions. I was very impressed with his attitude."
Asked about the timing of a new appointment, Mr Bernstein said: "I believe the situation can be resolved very quickly.
"There is a break after the Holland game. We would expect an experienced, top manager to pick up the reins very quickly.
"We want to make an appointment the public are positive about and excites the fans, but we have to do it properly, with a clear mind. Our supporters are crucial to us."
Looking back on the Capello era, Mr Bernstein said: "The appointment was very expensive but it was certainly not a mistake. He’s been a very good manager and the results have been perfectly acceptable.
"The team has performed very well away from home. I think it’s a question of confidence at Wembley. I’m hopeful the new manager with imbue extra confidence at home."
Mr Bernstein also spoke about the FA’s new code of conduct. "We've been working on it for some time," he said. "It will be in place in the next few months."