Ashley Cole charged over tweet
Ashley Cole has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association following his foul-mouthed outburst on Twitter.
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The Chelsea and England defender called the FA a "bunch of t***s" after the governing body's independent regulatory commission investigating the John Terry racial abuse case cast doubt on his evidence.
A statement on the FA's website said: "Chelsea FC's Ashley Cole has been charged by The FA in relation to a Twitter comment which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute."
Cole has until 4pm on Thursday, October 11 to respond to the charge.
The timing is not ideal given the charge demands a response barely 24 hours before England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley.
However, it is not thought there is any threat to Cole's chances of winning his 99th cap beyond the fact coach Roy Hodgson may elect to rest him ahead of the crucial trip to Poland four days later.
Cole reported for duty at the FA's new St George's Park complex in Burton along with the rest of his team-mates this lunchtime.
Whilst the FA do have disciplinary jurisdiction to suspend Cole if they wished, in instances of this nature, they are far more likely to hit the defender with a fine rather than a ban, something which former England striker Alan Shearer has called for.
Shearer told the BBC: "I think the FA can put a big statement out here by not fining him but actually banning him on Friday against San Marino."
Cole responded to Shearer by retweeting a comment on Twitter which referenced an incident in a game between Newcastle and Leicester in 1998 when the former Magpies forward's boot made contact with Neil Lennon's face.
The FA ruled the striker had been making a "genuine attempt to free himself" from a tangle with his opponent and took no disciplinary action against him.
Cole retweeted a post from @CollinR4 which read: "Alan Shearer says @TheRealAC3 needs to be banned for comments. I want his opinion on bans for kicking Neil Lennon in the head. #GlassHouses"
Cole will be part of the England squad that assemble at St George's Park for the official opening on Tuesday by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo confirmed the left-back would also be punished by his club for the tweet.
Di Matteo said: "We've got a social media policy at the club and there's going to be a disciplinary process - action - against the tweet and that's how I'll leave it."
The Italian added: "The image of the club is very important to us of course.
"We have rules, and anybody who breaks the rules faces disciplinary action against them.
"We strive to have high standards and hopefully, going forward, we can be better at showing those.
"I come from Switzerland so I like rules, and rules are there to be respected.
"I wouldn't say I'm a disciplinarian but, when you live and work in a group environment, you need rules to be able to live together and work together."
Cole's initial tweet came in response to comments from the independent FA regulatory commission which banned Terry for four matches for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Cole backed up his team-mate and said he thought Ferdinand may have used the word 'black' during a verbal exchange with Terry.
But according to the FA commission, Cole did not mention the word 'black' in the initial interview with the FA on October 28 last year.
On November 3, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard asked the FA for the specific word 'black' to be inserted into Cole's witness statement, suggesting that Cole may have heard Ferdinand use the term.
Cole issued an unreserved apology for the tweet on Friday afternoon, but not before it had been retweeted more than 19,000 times.
Ashley Cole factfile:
1980 - December 20: Born in Stepney, London.
1999 - November: Makes Arsenal debut in League Cup match against Middlesbrough.
2000 - May: Handed a Premier League debut against Newcastle before being sent on loan to Crystal Palace, where he receives a run in the first team.
August: Makes England Under-21 debut against Georgia.
2001 - March: Makes England senior debut in World Cup qualifier against Albania after just four under-21 caps.
2002: First-choice left-back as the Gunners win the Premier League and FA Cup double. Named in England 2002 World Cup squad and is an ever-present in Japan and South Korea.
2003: Wins second FA Cup with Arsenal.
2004: Key part of the legendary 'Invincibles' side that win the Premier League in an unbeaten season. Plays every game of England's Euro 2004 campaign in Portugal and named in the team of the tournament.
2005: May - Claims his third FA Cup winner's medal, scoring a penalty in the shoot-out victory over Manchester United.
June - Fined by the FA for his involvement in transfer talks with Chelsea which had not been sanctioned by Arsenal.
2006 - May: Plays full 90 minutes in the 2-1 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
Ever-present in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
August: Signs for Chelsea in a cash-plus-player deal involving William Gallas.
September 9: Debuts for Chelsea as a replacement for Wayne Bridge in 2-1 win over Charlton.
2007 - May: Recovers sufficiently from a knee injury to play the last 12 minutes of extra time as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final.
March 2008: Scores first goal for the Blues at West Ham.
Issues an apology to Tottenham's Alan Hutton for a bad tackle and to referee Mike Riley for his reaction to the subsequent booking.
May: Plays in his second Champions League final, again on the losing side as Chelsea go down on penalties to United despite Cole scoring his spot-kick.
2009: May - Wins fifth FA Cup medal as Blues defeat Everton 2-1.
Named Chelsea's player of the year for the 2008/09 season.
2010 - May: Wins record sixth FA Cup medal as Blues see off Portsmouth 1-0.
Chelsea also pip Manchester United to the Premier League title to give Cole the second double of his career.
Named England's player of the year by fans.
2011 - February: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti admits Cole "made a mistake" and "stepped over the line" following media reports he shot an air rifle towards a club intern.
September: Makes his 87th England appearance against Denmark to become his country's most capped full-back ahead of Kenny Sansom.
2012 - May: Continues his proud tradition in the FA Cup with a seventh final success, a 2-1 win over Liverpool.
Wins the Champions League at the third time of asking as Chelsea defeat Bayern Munich on penalties. Scores in the shoot-out.
June: Misses in shoot-out as England lose European Championship quarter-final to Italy.
October 5: Uncertainty over Cole's testimony in John Terry's disciplinary hearing is cited by independent FA regulatory commission in written explanation for the Chelsea captain's four-match ban and fine. Cole attacks the FA in a foul-mouthed rant on Twitter, for which he quickly apologises.
October 8: Charged with misconduct by the FA in relation to his Twitter comment.