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Ashley Cole says sorry to FA chief

Football Association chairman David Bernstein has revealed that Ashley Cole apologised to him personally on Monday night over his offensive Twitter message.

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Cole, 31, was charged with misconduct by the FA on Monday after his foul-mouthed Twitter rant against the association last week.

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

Soon after its publication, he tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTW***". Cole has until 16.00 BST on Thursday to respond to the charge.

Bernstein told Radio 5 Live: "He apologised immediately on Friday and he came to see me last night and apologised to me personally.

"He showed real contrition. He said he was really sorry. 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 was convinced Cole's apology was heart-felt. He told Sky Sports News: "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."

On Monday, FA sources told ESPN Cole would be allowed to play for England against San Marino at Wembley on Friday. If selected, the defender will win his 99th cap for his country.

Bernstein went on to accept that the Chelsea full-back's actions meant he was unlikely to captain England for what could be his 100th cap against Poland next Tuesday.

Asked about the possibility of Cole being given the armband to mark the occasion, Bernstein 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."

Bernstein also revealed the FA will not appeal the punishment handed to Terry by the independent regulatory commission.

"The FA I believe will not be appealing it," he said. "But the thing is still under possible appeal therefore I do not want to talk about the John Terry thing at all. It's not over yet and John Terry has a right of appeal himself."

An insider from the Cole camp told ESPN: "Ashley was extremely upset the minute the John Terry findings came out which questioned the validity of his evidence. Ashley was extremely upset, angry and distraught about how he had been portrayed. It is implicit in his reaction just how angry he was.

"It came out as if Ashley had not told the truth in his evidence. This is clearly not the case as far as Ashley is concerned and that prompted his tweet.

"Not long afterwards, Ashley was advised to remove the tweet, and by that time his anger had receded and the tweet was removed straight away.

"Roy Hodgson called Ashley, and while that conversation remains private, there was no suggestion that Ashley was contemplating quitting international football, and the fact that he has arrived for England training would tell you he wants to continue playing for his country.

"Hodgson is a sensible, mature mind, and Ashley respects people like Roy. Ashley has no issue with Roy, they get on well, and Ashley apologised to Roy for what happened.

"Even though Ashley did not accept the slur against the way he gave his evidence, he apologised for his tweet to Roy Hodgson, to his club and last night also to David Bernstein.

"Ashley now has to make a decision about whether to request a personal hearing against his FA disrepute charge, and it is not as simple as it might appear.

"There are two issues for Ashley; one the disrepute charge and to get a fair hearing on that, and the other issue is that all the attention of the John Terry case seems to have been re directed toward Ashley.

"Somehow the reason the FA disciplinary hearing were able to distinguish between the court findings and their own was to do with the so-called new evidence about Ashley's evidence.

"As yet we don't know if John Terry plans an appeal, but the way it has been portrayed is that Ashley lied about his evidence in that case, and that is not true and something that needs to be addressed in due course."