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Cole fined for Twitter comments

West Ham United striker Carlton Cole has been hit with a £20,000 fine and warned about his future conduct following remarks made on the social-networking site Twitter.

• Hammers consider Tweet action

Cole, who made the comments during England's friendly match against Ghana in March, apologised for the remarks and said any offence caused was unintentional.

"At a regulatory commission today [Wednesday], West Ham United player Carlton Cole was fined and warned as to his future conduct," a statement from the FA said. "Cole was charged with improper conduct in relation to media comments made on the social media site Twitter on 29 March 2011. Having admitted the charge and requested a personal hearing, Cole was warned and fined £20,000."

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) issued a warning to all players using Twitter, asking them to remember their comments are available for public consumption.

"The commission fully accepted the mitigation put forward on Carlton's behalf and his apology for any offence caused however unintentionally. A fine was imposed with a warning as to future conduct but no ban was enforced," PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes said.

"This case, along with the recent Ryan Babel case, highlights the need for players to be vigilant when using social media. It is ironic that at a time when players are accused of being distant and out of touch with supporters that attempts to communicate can bear such potential sanctions."

Former Liverpool forward Babel was reprimanded earlier this year for posting a mock photograph of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt on Twitter after the Anfield club were defeated at Old Trafford.

"The PFA holds the view that whilst the use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be useful and an inevitable communication vehicle in these times, clear guidelines need to be applied," continued Barnes.

"We would advise players not to stop tweeting but to bear in mind that this is not an intimate private conversation but a medium open to a potentially wide audience."

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