English Premiership

Cole cleared after apology

2012-10-09 11:16
Ashley Cole (File)

London - Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has made a personal apology to Football Association chairperson David Bernstein on Tuesday after a foul-mouthed outburst against the English game's governing body.

Cole was charged with misconduct by the FA on Monday after the England star's outburst on Twitter last week in response to the organisation's criticism of his evidence in the John Terry racial abuse hearing.

The 31-year-old was quick to delete the tweet - in which he branded the FA "a bunch of twats" - and also issued a statement apologising for his rant, but Bernstein revealed that Cole had also said sorry to him in person on Monday.

"He apologised immediately on Friday and he came to see me last night and apologised to me personally," Bernstein told BBC Radio Five Live.

"He showed real contrition. He said he was really sorry.

"It was a serious apology. He expressed a degree of remorse for what he had done, wished it hadn't happened.

"I looked him in the eye and really felt that he meant it."

Bernstein also stressed that England manager Roy Hodgson will decide whether Cole plays against San Marino in Friday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley after some pundits called for him to be dropped as punishment for the Twitter controversy.

"He is free to play for England over the coming matches. It is up to the manager to decide whether he plays or not," Bernstein added.

With Hodgson left to decide whether or not to play Cole, the only threat to his chances of winning a 99th cap would appear to be if the England manager opts to rest him ahead of the crucial trip to Poland next week.

However, Bernstein did admit that Cole's actions meant he was unlikely to captain England for what could be his landmark 100th cap against Poland next Tuesday.

Asked about the possibility of Cole being given the armband to mark the occasion, Bernstein, who played a key role in Terry being stripped of the captaincy over the Anton Ferdinand race row, said: "To be absolutely honest I doubt it. We've expressed a view on what we need with regard to a captain and I doubt it, but we'll see.

"We've had issues and we've stated publicly many times that we have a very high level of behaviour and so on and so forth required from an English captain."

Meanwhile, the FA's general secretary Alex Horne has revealed the Cole row has prompted his organisation to consider putting guidelines on social media use in their code of conduct.

Cole is not the first high-profile player to pay the price for using Twitter to vent his frustrations and Horne admits the FA are ready to take firm action in a bid to stop the problem spiralling out of control.

"You take personal responsibility for what you put out," Horne told Sky Sports News.

"Tweeting is effectively like me talking to you and millions of people and they need to understand that and I think they do.

"The clubs and England need to help them as much as possible with reiterating guidelines and reiterating safeguards in terms of think before you tweet.

"There is a policy in place across the FA, there are lines and if you cross them we will charge you. The clubs have their own policies in place.

"We as England will look towards including something on social media in a code of conduct."

Read more on:    england  |  chelsea  |  ashley cole  |  soccer
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