Ashley Cole has admitted a Football Association charge in relation to his profane outburst on Twitter.
The Chelsea and England full-back labelled the FA a “bunch of t***s” on the social networking site last week after an independent regulatory commission of the governing body investigating the John Terry racial abuse case had cast doubt on Cole’s evidence.
His comments were swiftly removed but the FA reacted quickly and charged the former Arsenal man, who has requested a non-personal hearing, which will determine his punishment.
A statement on the FA’s website read: “Ashley Cole has admitted an FA charge in relation to a Twitter comment which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.
“Cole has requested a non-personal hearing, the date of which has yet to be set.”
Cole’s furious outburst was retweeted more than 19,000 times and provoked large condemnation from the footballing world.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo had an uncomfortable press conference in the wake of Cole’s tweet on Friday, although the player retained his starting spot for the Blues 4-1 win over Norwich 24 hours later.
But the 31-year-old is facing a fine of two weeks’ wages – believed to be around £240,000 – by his club while an FA punishment could push the total past the quarter of a million mark.
There was no suggestion that Cole would announce his international retirement as he seeks to win his 99th cap against San Marino tonight.
But the player’s comments prompted him to apologise to FA chairman David Bernstein, who confirmed on Tuesday that the England squad had been spoken to about a new code of conduct.
The new code will be in place in time for next month’s friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg.
Should players fall foul of the fresh rules then the FA, in the worst-case scenario, could impose an international suspension.
“If someone transgresses in a way that brings the integrity of the team or themselves or the organisation into question, we have the ability to warn them, or if we deem it appropriate, under significant circumstances, to suspend them from England,” said Club England managing director Adrian Bevington earlier this week.
Yesterday’s admission from Cole came just hours after club team-mate Ryan Bertrand embroiled himself in controversy on Twitter.
The 23-year-old had to apologise for a foul-mouthed rant regarding reports he had pulled out of tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley with merely a sore throat.
“Just to clarify.... Its not a “sore throat” Im ill. swollen glands in my neck... And constant headache for 3 days now and freezin cold,” Bertrand explained on the social networking site.
“Do you think a “sorethroat” could stop me being apart of a match for my club or country? £yourf******nuts this is what every boy dreams of.”
Bertrand quickly realised his error, adding: “sorry if i offended anyone by swearing as i don’t encourage that type of language.
“was just disappointed at the thought of people thinking i only have a sore throat.. which is not the case..”
An FA spokesman later confirmed there would be no sanction for Bertrand, whose outburst was not aimed at anyone one in particular as opposed to Cole’s broadside at the FA.
Bertrand, however, is likely to be warned of his responsibilities on Twitter.
Meanwhile England head coach Roy Hodgson is hoping midfielder Frank Lampard and defender Bertrand can rejoin the squad on Sunday after being ruled out of the clash with San Marino. Lampard has a slight calf muscle tear while his Chelsea team-mate Bertrand has been suffering with illness, but Hodgson hopes one or both of them could be fit to face Poland next Tuesday.
Hodgson said: “Lampard had a scan earlier on in the week. He tried to train away from the team on Wednesday and still felt a slight problem with his calf muscle and it was re-scanned.
“They found a few fibres where there has been a slight tear. It is not a major problem but was decided the best thing is for him to go back to his club to get treatment on a daily basis and we will reassess on Sunday.
“When Ryan Bertrand fell ill, we were hoping it was one of those 24-hour things. It turned out to be a bit more serious than that.
“It is purely illness and we’ve sent him back to try and recover and we hope to see him on Sunday along with Frank.”
Hodgson gave no indication whether Cole would win his 99th cap against minnows San Marino, but he is looking to utilise his squad with the game in Warsaw already in his thoughts.
He said: “I could give you clues but I’m not going to because I haven’t spoken to the players about the team.
“I’ve a good idea in my own mind of what I’m going to do but can’t divulge that until I’ve spoken to the players. I don’t know if it will be a question of experimentation tomorrow. It might be a question of utilising the squad in a different way because we have a very important game in Poland on Tuesday.
“My thoughts this week have been based on how best to use the squad, knowing whatever team I choose at Wembley is likely to be able to win that game. “How many players do I spare or keep fitter and fresher for Tuesday? That is the decision.”
Hodgson has praised the England fans for the game a 90,000 sell-out despite the standard of opposition.
He said: “It is magnificent. It shows what fantastic support there is for football and national team football in the country and how lucky we are really to have an arena which takes 90,000 people who want to come and watch us play.”
Wayne Rooney has revealed his pride at being made England captain for a the first time in a competitive match – and vowed to get the best out of himself and his team-mates.
Rooney will lead England in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard and injured Lampard.
The Manchester United star said: “It is a great honour. I’m really proud and excited. It will be a big night for me and my family.
“It is a big challenge for myself. I don’t know what sort of captain I am and I already speak with all the players whether it is younger or older.
“But I will try and get the best out of myself and the other players – and hopefully they can get the best out of me.”
“Hopefully it will be a great result for us and I’m looking forward to the game.”