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Oct 8, 2012

FA charges Cole over tweet

The Football Association has charged Chelsea's Ashley Cole with misconduct after his Twitter tirade against the association last week.

• Cole launches attack on FA
• Cole apologises for tweet
• Di Matteo warns Blues stars
• Ashley Cole blasts Shearer
• Cole free to face San Marino

In a statement on its website, the FA 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."

The Blues and England left-back has until 16.00 BST on Thursday to respond to the charge.

On Friday, Cole used his official Twitter account to respond to the publication of an FA panel's report into the John Terry racism verdict. The report said there were "considerable doubts" about evidence given in support of Terry by Cole, suggesting it had "evolved".

Soon after its publication, he tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTW***''

The tweet created a storm and was re-tweeted more than 19,000 times before Cole deleted it. It sparked speculation about his international future - he has 98 England caps and is in the squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers.

He issued an "unreserved" apology later that day, saying in a statement: "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."

Asked about the incident at his Friday press conference, 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.''

A Chelsea spokesman said: "We would prefer that everyone takes the club's lead on this issue and holds any comment they have until an appropriate time."

In its written reasons for the punishment handed to Terry, the tribunal panel said the Chelsea left-back added, at a later date, the word "black" into a witness statement outlining what he claimed to have heard Anton Ferdinand saying to Terry when QPR played Chelsea at Loftus Road last October.

Cole backed his team-mate's claim that he had repeated the words "f****** black c***'' because he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying them.

He said he thought Ferdinand may have used the word "black" during a verbal exchange with Terry but, according to the commission, did not mention the word when interviewed by the FA on October 28.

On November 3, David Barnard, the Chelsea club secretary, asked the FA for the word to be inserted into Cole's witness statement, suggesting that the defender may have heard Ferdinand use it.

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

In a statement, Chelsea defended both Cole and Bernard and said: "Ashley co-operated at all times with the FA and stands by the evidence that he gave and does not accept the criticism that has been made."