Ashley Cole sorry for Twitter blast

Ashley Cole has apologised for his four-letter tirade at the Football Association while John Terry's defence has been slammed by the panel who issued the suspension.

Football News: Ashley Cole Chelsea

 

The independent FA regulatory commission published their full written reasons for banning Terry for four matches for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

The commission said there was "no credible basis" for Terry's claim he had only been repeating words he thought QPR defender Ferdinand had accused him of saying during the match at Loftus Road last October.

The three-man panel also questioned why Cole had changed his statement to give more support to Terry's story, sparking a furious response from the Chelsea and England defender.

The commission said they were satisfied the words "f****** black c***" were intended as an insult by Terry. The player and his advisers will now spend the international break deciding whether to appeal - he has 14 days to do so - but given the stance taken by the panel the likelihood of that has diminished.

The commission's report stated: "There are further aspects of Mr Terry's defence that the commission finds improbable, implausible and contrived, and which serve to underline and reinforce our decision.

"The commission is quite satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that there is no credible basis for Mr Terry's defence that his use of the words 'f****** black c***' were directed at Mr Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry.

"Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.

"Accordingly, the commission finds that there is 'clear and convincing' evidence'."

The commission said that character references from a number of people including black players made it clear that Terry was not racially prejudiced.

"It is accepted by everyone involved in the criminal and disciplinary proceedings that Mr Terry is not a racist," added the commission.

Terry had been cleared in Westminster magistrates court in July of a racially-motivated public order offence, partly helped by the testimony of Cole.

However, the commission found that there were discrepancies in Cole's initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Ferdinand say to Terry compared to later statements.

Cole did not mention the word 'black' in the initial interview with the FA on October 28. On November 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".

Cole saw the panel's comments after training on Friday and reacted on his official Twitter account saying: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT****". It was retweeted more than 19,000 times before he deleted it.

In a statement released later, Cole said: "I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment. I apologise unreservedly for my comment about the FA."

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."

Chelsea added that they stand by Barnard completely and that he acted with complete integrity throughout the process.

"David co-operated fully with the FA at all times. He stands by his evidence and does not accept the criticism that has been made," the statement continued.

"It should also be noted that David was not given the opportunity to give oral evidence to the commission, so we feel any criticism is unjustified."

As for Ferdinand, the commission said he had suffered "hateful abuse" as a result of the case but had acted with dignity said the report.

There will also be questions for the FA to address in relation to how they investigate such serious cases.

The written reasons show that FA interviewers did not record an interview with Ashley Cole, who was a key witness, but relied on written notes.

The notes by one of the two interviewers were initially omitted from the FA's dossier of relevant documents and only came to light just before the hearing.

Despite the furore, Cole will still meet up with the England squad as planned on Monday after this apology.

 



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