Cole charged by the FA
Soccer:Ashley Cole was charged with misconduct by the Football Association today following his recent outburst on Twitter. The Chelsea and England defender called the FA a "bunch of twats" after the governing body's independent regulatory commission investigating the John Terry racial abuse case cast doubt on his evidence.
A statement on the FA's website said: "Chelsea FC's Ashley Cole has been charged by The FA in relation to a Twitter comment which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute."
Cole has until 4pm on Thursday to respond to the charge. The timing is not ideal given the charge demands a response barely 24 hours before England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley.
However, it is not thought there is any threat to Cole's chances of winning his 99th cap beyond the fact coach Roy Hodgson may elect to rest him ahead of the crucial trip to Poland four days later.
Cole reported for duty at the FA's new St George's Park complex in Burton along with the rest of his team-mates this lunchtime.
Whilst the FA do have disciplinary jurisdiction to suspend Cole if they wished, in instances of this nature, they are far more likely to hit the defender with a fine rather than a ban, something which former England striker Alan Shearer has called for.
Shearer told the BBC: "I think the FA can put a big statement out here by not fining him but actually banning him on Friday against San Marino."
Cole responded to Shearer by retweeting a comment on Twitter which referenced an incident in a game between Newcastle and Leicester in 1998 when the former Magpies forward's boot made contact with Neil Lennon's face.
The FA ruled the striker had been making a "genuine attempt to free himself" from a tangle with his opponent and took no disciplinary action against him.
Cole retweeted a post from @CollinR4 which read: "Alan Shearer says @TheRealAC3 needs to be banned for comments. I want his opinion on bans for kicking Neil Lennon in the head. #GlassHouses"
Cole will be part of the England squad that assemble at St George's Park for the official opening on Tuesday by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo confirmed the left-back would also be punished by his club for the tweet.
Di Matteo said: "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."
The Italian added: "The image of the club is very important to us of course. We have rules, and anybody who breaks the rules faces disciplinary action against them. We strive to have high standards and hopefully, going forward, we can be better at showing those.”