Police are to investigate reports that Ashley Cole accidentally shot a student with an air rifle at Chelsea's training ground, an incident that has left Carlo Ancelotti's future in the balance after the club's hierarchy met to discuss the indiscipline creeping into the dressing room.
Chelsea defender Cole is said to have accidentally shot 21-year-old Tom Cowan, who had to be treated by the club's medical staff after being hit in the side by a lead pellet, with a .22 rifle last Sunday.
The incident was originally kept under wraps but Surrey police have now said they will look into the incident after being alerted by the press to what has become a hugely embarrassing incident for Chelsea.
A Surrey police spokesman said: "We can confirm that, while no direct allegation has been made to Surrey police, the matter has been brought to our attention through reports in the media, and we will be contacting the club in due course to establish whether any criminal offence has been committed."
Questions have been raised as to why Cole, 30, had an air rifle at the training ground in the first place and ESPNsoccernet has been told that the issue of indiscipline at Chelsea has been growing for a number of months.
A Chelsea source said: "The problem of lax discipline has been one going around the club for some time now. The incident with Ashley Cole only adds to the feeling that the manager is not exercising full control over the players."
The Blues' board met at Stamford Bridge toward the end of the week, and there is a view that Ancelotti might not see out this season if there is any danger of the team failing to finish in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
Roman Abramovich has already given thought to the notion that Guus Hiddink could return to West London, although the Turkey boss has indicated that he would prefer the role as a technical/sporting director in successor to Frank Arnesen.