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Oct 9, 2012

Hodgson relieved Cole row is over

England coach Roy Hodgson has said he is "relieved" that FA chairman David Bernstein has accepted Ashley Cole's apology for his Twitter tirade.

• Cole says sorry to FA chief
• Cole free to face San Marino
• FA charges Cole over tweet
• Cole to be punished for rant
• St George's to get royal opening
• Blog: No strangers to scandal

Cole, 31, is free to play for the national team despite being charged with misconduct over the tweet, which he posted on Friday, and is in the squad for the forthcoming qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

The Chelsea left-back had 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, writing: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTW***".

Bernstein told Radio 5 Live on Tuesday that Cole, who issued an apology soon after deleting the tweet on Friday, "came to see me last night and apologised to me personally".

The furore over the tweet sparked speculation about Cole's England future - the defender currently has 98 caps - but Bernstein said: "He showed real contrition... he is free to play for England over the coming matches."

That was welcomed by Hodgson who, speaking to the media at the opening of the new England national football centre at St George's Park, said: "I am very pleased that the chairman has gracefully accepted the apology from Ashley. I'm relieved it's over.

"I know how disappointed and saddened Ashley was with the situation, and I am delighted that this has been resolved by the FA chairman and by Ashley himself."

Hodgson said Cole's desire to represent his country was as high as ever as he neared his century of caps, adding: "No one who is fair-minded could question his commitment to England and the England shirt.

"His contrition was all the greater because he could have put his [England] position in jeopardy, and I'm very grateful he hasn't done that."

The coach said everyone involved in the England set-up was impressed with the facilities at St George's Park, adding: "Anyone who comes here cannot help but be inspired by the surroundings and the history. We are very happy to be here, and we are hoping to produce a new generation of players."

His captain Steven Gerrard said the new centre's creation meant England's players "have the best stadium in the world and now the best training facilities in the world".

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