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Chelsea defender Cole charged with misconduct after abusive tweet

October 8, 2012 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been charged with misconduct by the English Football Association
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been charged with misconduct by the English Football Association
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chelsea defender Ashley Cole is charged with misconduct by English Football Association
  • Cole sent an abusive tweet about the FA after he was criticised in a report on racism
  • Independent probe into John Terry racism claims said Cole's evidence "evolved" over time
  • Cole called the FA a "bunch of twats" upon hearing the findings of the report

(CNN) -- Chelsea and England defender Ashley Cole has been charged by the Football Association (FA) after he called them a "bunch of twats" during a Twitter rant on Friday.

Cole was responding to an independent report into an allegation of racism against Chelsea captain John Terry, in which the panel cast "considerable doubt" over the 31-year-old's evidence.

Terry, who retired from international football over the affair, was found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, banned for four matches and fined US$350,000.

When Cole learned of the FA panel's suggestion he had "evolved" the evidence he gave to the investigation he responded by tweeting: 'Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS.'

Read: Cole apologizes for outburst over Terry racism case

He apologized unreservedly hours later but he has now been charged with misconduct. Cole is currently on international duty with England, preparing for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

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Mourinho: John Terry is not a racist
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A short statement on the FA's website read: "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 11 October 2012 to respond to the charge."

Terry was also tried in a criminal court after his altercation with Ferdinand, the brother of Manchester United defender Rio, in which he admitted calling Anton "a f******g black c***."

He claimed he was repeating words that Ferdinand had said to him, asking his opponent if he thought he had been the subject of racial abuse.

Terry was found not guilty in July but the FA found him guilty on 27 September, using the "balance of probabilities" as its standard of proof as opposed to the "beyond reasonable doubt" ruling used in a criminal trial.

The FA panel said: "We are driven to conclude not just that it is 'highly unlikely' that Mr. Ferdinand accused Mr. Terry on the pitch of calling him a 'black c***', but that he did not."

The organization stressed it does not believe "Terry to be a racist", citing a large body of testimonial evidence -- "including statements from black footballers" -- to say that he is not, but that it did find him guilty of making a racist insult.

Cole's initial evidence in the days after the incident occurred was amended in November 2011 when Chelsea secretary Dave Barnard asked the FA to add the word "black" to the former Arsenal defender's original statement.

The FA also stated that it had "considerable doubt" over Cole's claims he had heard Ferdinand use the word "black" when insulting Terry after the pair clashed, while calling Barnard's evidence "materially defective."

It went on: "The Commission [has] considerable doubt as to whether the request to amend paragraph 4 of Mr. Cole's statement, to include the word 'black', was based on Mr. Cole's own personal recollections, or as a result of discussions that he had had with Mr. Barnard."

Cole is also likely to face punishment from his club for the abusive tweet, with manager Roberto Di Matteo stating his player had fallen foul of Chelsea's social media policy.

He told a press conference: "If you are going to criticize football the one thing I would completely agree with is there are certain players out there, and I am not particularly picking on Ashley Cole, that forget some times that they represent an employer, industry and governing body which is the FA."

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