Chelsea plans to punish Ashley Cole

October 6, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo confirmed Saturday that left back Ashley Cole would be punished by his club over his foul-mouthed Twitter rant at the Football Association.

"We've got a social media policy at the club and there's going to be a disciplinary process -- action -- against the tweet and that's how I'll leave it," Di Matteo said after Chelsea's 4-1 win over Norwich.

Cole appears likely to face a charge from the FA as well.

Cole used profanity to insult the FA on Friday after he was accused of "evolving" his statement supporting John Terry's defense against the charge Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand.

The 31-year-old later apologized "unreservedly" for his outburst, insisting he posted in "the heat of the moment." As of Saturday morning, he still planned to meet up with the England squad as planned on Monday.

The FA refused to comment on whether action would be taken against Cole but their own 'charging guidelines' in media comments and social networking cases are clear.

A breach of the rules includes: "Comments which are improper, which bring the game into disrepute, which are threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting."

Cole deleted the tweet but the FA guidelines add: "Deleting an inappropriate posting, whilst advisable, does not necessarily prevent disciplinary action being taken."

Several players have been punished for offensive tweets in recent times, including Rio Ferdinand for retweeting a comment describing Cole as "choc-ice."

Despite the number of high-profile controversies, Di Matteo was not in favor of banning his players from using Twitter.

"I'm in favor of social-media entities," he said. "They just have to be used sensibly. But I'm not against it. It's in the world we live in and, as long as it's used with responsibility, I think it's a good way to communicate."

Cole was also not the first Chelsea player to fall foul of the club's social-media policy.

"If they breach a rule that we have, there are going to be some consequences," Di Matteo added. "We have rules, and if they break them then there is a consequence."

It is understood Cole spoke to England manager Roy Hodgson about the incident.

Terry and his advisers will spend the international break deciding whether to appeal against his four-match ban. The Chelsea captain has 14 days to make a decision and the publication of the full judgement by the FA regulatory commission appears to have diminished the likelihood of that happening.

Cole's evidence proved crucial to Terry in his acquittal at Westminster Magistrates' Court in July, but the FA commission last week banned Terry for four matches for racially abusing Ferdinand.

Cole's involvement surrounded Terry's claim that he had only been repeating the words that he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying, following Chelsea's game at QPR on Oct. 29 last year.

Cole backed up his teammate and said he thought Ferdinand may have used the word 'black' during a verbal exchange with Terry.

But according to the FA commission's written reasons published Friday, Cole did not mention the word 'black' in the initial interview with the FA on Oct. 28.

On Nov. 3, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard asked the FA for the specific word 'black' to be inserted into Cole's witness statement, suggesting that Cole may have heard Ferdinand use the term.

The commission saw an email exchange between the FA and Barnard and said that should be regarded as "cogent new evidence."

Chelsea said Cole did not accept the criticism made of him by the commission.

A club statement said: "Ashley co-operated at all times with the FA and stands by the evidence that he gave and does not accept the criticism that has been made."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.