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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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FA: Ashley Cole apologized

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo defends captain John Terry in the light of the FA's written judegement on his recent ban and fine over use of racially aggravated language.

Chelsea's Ashley Cole is free to play for England during the team's upcoming World Cup qualifiers following a personal apology he made to English Football Association chairman David Bernstein Monday. However, Bernstein said it is unlikely the left back will be named captain by manager Roy Hodgson.

"We've made it clear on previous recent occasions that the standard we expect from our captains are very, very high indeed so I think that's unlikely," Bernstein told the BBC. "I'm not going to rule anything out, but unlikely."

Bernstein said Tuesday that Cole apologized to him personally for the tweet Cole sent Friday criticizing the FA's judgment on the John Terry racial abuse case.

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

Cole had been charged for the tweet.

"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 statement reads. "Cole has until 4 p.m. on Thursday 11 October 2012 to respond to the charge."

Cole, who could be fined by the FA, is currently on England team duty before World Cup qualifiers against San Marino on Oct. 12 and Poland on Oct. 16.

The FA report on the Terry racial abuse tweet, released Friday, cited discrepancies in the initial statement Terry teammate Cole gave to FA interviewers compared to the statement Cole made later to the FA.

Cole responded Friday with a tweet from his account that said: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa, I lied did I" and ended with a hashtag followed by a profanity, for which he apologized via written statement released to the media.

"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," the statement said.

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

The FA panel that banned Chelsea captain Terry for four matches for racially abusing an opponent found that his defense was "implausible and contrived."

The panel's 63-page findings were published Friday, a week after the verdict, and Terry has 14 days to decide whether to appeal his four-match ban and 220,000-pound ($356,000) fine in English soccer's highest-profile racism case.

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