Cole sorry for "bunch of t***s" tweet

Ashley Cole has apologised "unreservedly" for calling the Football Association a "bunch of t***s" after his evidence was called into question in the written reasons for John Terry's punishment for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

The regulatory commission highlighted discrepancies in Cole's initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Ferdinand say to Terry compared to a later statement. Terry was found to have insulted Ferdinand with the term "f*****g black c***" and was banned for four games.

It was found that Cole changed his evidence supporting Terry and that, with the assistance of Chelsea club secretary David Barnard, retrospectively added the word "black" into his witness statement for the FA.

In response, Cole, who gave evidence on behalf of Terry in the criminal case that saw the Chelsea captain cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence in July, took to Twitter to launch an extraordinary attack on the governing body.

He tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT***S"

Cole deleted the tweet, before issuing a statement through his solicitors, saying: "I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment. I apologise unreservedly for my comment about the FA."

In Friday's 63-page report, the commission stated: "It is also the FA's case that Ashley Cole's evidence has evolved and that the word “black” was introduced retrospectively into the witness statement that he provided to the FA, with a view to bolstering Mr. Terry‟s claim that the words that he (Mr. Terry) spoke to Mr. Ferdinand were not said by way of an insult, but as repetition and forceful denial of what Mr. Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

"In support of its case in this regard, the FA pointed to an exchange of emails that took place between the FA and Chelsea's club secretary, David Barnard, in which requests were made, on behalf of Mr. Cole, to amend his draft witness statements.

"Again, the commission was in the invidious position of having very little live witness evidence to test the documentary evidence. Nevertheless, as will be shown, the commission's view of this new evidence is that it casts considerable doubt over Mr. Cole's claim that he heard, or could have heard, Mr. Ferdinand use the word “black” when the latter insulted Mr. Terry with words and gestures. The new evidence undermines Mr. Cole's corroboration for Mr. Terry's claim that when he used the words “f*****g black c***”, he did so by way of forceful rejection/inquiry."

The commission report said the magistrate did not have Cole's witness statements in the criminal case.

It continued: "Had it been before him, the commission has no doubt that the chief magistrate would have examined Mr. Cole‟s evidence as to what he claims he heard Mr. Ferdinand say to Mr. Terry on the pitch very carefully indeed, or scrutinised it even more closely than he may have done.

"Like the commission, the issues that have arisen would have informed his view as to whether Mr. Cole's evidence was capable of providing reliable corroboration for Mr. Terry‟s case. On the evidence before us, the commission has considerable doubts in that regard.

"Having regard to all of the matters set out above, the issues and inconsistencies that surround Mr. Cole's evidence provide yet further support for the FA's case that there is plainly more than enough cumulative evidence, both existing and new, to amount to a “clear and convincing” case in order to discharge the burden that it bears."

Chelsea said in a statement: "Ashley co-operated at all times with the FA and stands by the evidence that he gave and does not accept the criticism."

News of Cole's tweet filtered through to journalists attending Roberto Di Matteo's weekly press conference at Cobham on Friday.

The manager said: "I judge the players on what I see when they train and play. I try and select a team that will hopefully be able to win against Norwich. That is my job.

"I always said about the social networks that it is a good vehicle if used appropriately. Players need to realise that tweets can be viewed by anybody and they have to be responsible.

"I do not think the players, apart from this, are out of control."

Head of communications Steve Atkins prevented the manager from answering more questions about the tweet, but when asked if it was appropriate, the Chelsea official replied: "I would say not but again I think we should reserve any comment on that until the more appropriate time."

The fact Cole gave evidence on Terry's behalf in court led fellow England international and Anton's brother Rio Ferdinand to label the Chelsea defender a "choc ice" on Twitter, earning a £45,000 fine for the racial comment.

Cole is a member of the England squad to face San Marino next Friday and then Poland on October 16. He is currently on 98 caps, but the nature of Friday's outburst will surely invite disciplinary action.

Di Matteo added: "I think it is for [England manager] Roy Hodgson to decide [if Cole plays for England]."

Everton star Leighton Baines and Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs are the other two left-backs in Roy Hodgson's squad.