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Ashley Cole apologises for Twitter outburst on John Terry racism case

Updated: Friday, 05 Oct 2012 17:17 | Comments

Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole's evidence proved crucial to John  Terry's acquittal at Westminster Magistrates Court in July
Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole's evidence proved crucial to John Terry's acquittal at Westminster Magistrates Court in July

Ashley Cole has apologised unreservedly for his outburst at the English FA over his role in the John Terry racism case.

The independent Football Association regulatory commission said there were discrepancies in Cole's initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Anton Ferdinand say to Terry compared to a later statement.

Cole responded on his official Twitter account saying: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS."

It was re-tweeted more than 19,000 times before he deleted it.

In a statement released this afternoon, Cole said: "I had just finished training and saw the captions on the TV screens in the treatment rooms about what was said in the FA Commission ruling about me.

"I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment. I apologise unreservedly for my comment about the FA."

The Chelsea and England full-back's evidence proved crucial to Terry in his acquittal at Westminster Magistrates Court in July, but the FA commission last week banned Terry for four matches for racially abusing Ferdinand.

Asked about Cole's tweet, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said they would look into it.

Cole later deleted his offensive tweet, but only after it was re-tweeted more than 19,000 times.

Di Matteo said: "We'll look at the tweet and then we'll see. Apart from this, I don't think the players are out of control."

"We'll look at the tweet and then we'll see. Apart from this, I don't think the players are out of control." - Roberto Di Matteo

Cole's involvement surrounded Terry's claim that he had only been repeating the words "f***ing black c***" that he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

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's written reasons published today, Cole did not mention the word 'black' in the initial interview with the FA on 28 October.

On 3 November, 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.

The commission saw an email exchange between the FA and Barnard and said that should be regarded as "cogent new evidence".

After Terry was cleared in magistrates court in July, Rio Ferdinand appeared to endorse a tweet describing Cole, who also gave evidence in Terry's defence in court, as a 'choc ice' - a slang term suggesting someone is black on the outside and white on the inside.

Ferdinand tweeted: 'I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic hahahahahaha!!'

The Manchester United defender was fined £45,000 by the FA over the tweet, for improper conduct.

Kick It Out, the group that campaigns against racism in football, said in a statement: "The written reasons are welcomed and acknowledge some important consequences of this episode, namely the trauma caused to the Ferdinand family.

"It's a period that has polarised the game, undermined the good work being done at all levels, and it must never be allowed to happen again.

"We note the rationale for the outcome and there is still a right to appeal, which we respect. In addition, any sanction by Chelsea, as Mr Terry's employer, is subject to the club's own internal disciplinary procedures.

"The words used are completely unacceptable, irrespective of how many times they were levelled. As campaigners we remain committed to the strongest action being taken against discrimination and supporting the victims of it."

Meanwhile, it is understood that England manager Roy Hodgson spoke to Cole this afternoon following his outburst and apology, and that the Chelsea defender will be joining up with the national squad as planned on Monday.

Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo had said "That's for Roy Hodgson to decide" when asked whether Cole should still be picked for England. 

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