Prince William scolds Ashley Cole as FA reveals new behaviour rules to England players

Governing body wants no repeat of left-back's Twitter rant and issues Hodgson's squad with a strict code of conduct

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The Independent Football

The England players were presented by the Football Association with a new code of conduct on Monday night to establish discipline and ensure that there is no repeat of Ashley Cole's infamous tweet that has caused such embarrassment to the governing body.

The 25-man England squad were given a presentation by Club England managing director Adrian Bevington with the aim of telling the players what they can expect if they commit a transgression on international duty. Work started on the code of conduct before the European championships this summer but comes into effect from now.

The FA chairman David Bernstein said: "A huge amount of thought has gone into it. It doesn't contain a list of offences and a tariff of penalties because, in the real world, you don't know what's around the corner. There has to be flexibility. But it certainly gives the players a very clear guide as to what is permissible and that there will be various consequences if they don't abide with it."

Cole is available for selection for Friday's World Cup qualifier in San Marino, a decision that was made before the player visited Bernstein personally on Monday night to apologise for his "bunchoft***s" tweet on Friday in response to the release of the independent regulatory commission's written judgement on John Terry.

There is also a strong suggestion now that Terry will not appeal the FA's decision to give him a four-match ban and a £220,000 fine after the charge of him racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in October last year was upheld by the commission. The player has until a week on Friday to make up his mind whether or not to appeal.

Bernstein said: "Ashley Cole came to see me, which was very unusual, it was the first time I've had a discussion of this sort with a player, and he was very contrite and emphasised that what he'd done was in the heat of the moment. He had seen something where he felt he had been branded improperly.

"He reacted in the heat of the moment. He knew that was a mistake. He had publicly apologised and withdrew the tweet as quickly as he could. I believe he has been punished by Chelsea and he has been charged by the FA.

"In one way or another, our strong view was that it was unfortunate, and something we viewed very seriously, but that it wasn't a capital offence. And, as a principle, the idea of not allowing him to play for England would have been disproportionate. That is our clear view."


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The FA celebrated the opening of St George's Park yesterday, its £105m national football centre in east Staffordshire that boasts 12 full-size pitches (including one inside), five gyms, two hotels, an altitude chamber, a sprint track, a futsal pitch and a sports medical centre that the organisation believes is the most sophisticated in the country.

Steven Gerrard said he was "blown away" by the new facilities. "All the lads are buzzing to be here," he said. "We're lucky to have facilities like this. It's a long-term plan and hopefully it can bring success to the national teams."

The players met with the Duke of Cambridge, the president of the FA, and his wife who walked out onto the training pitch reserved for the senior team to greet the players. It was there that Prince William is understood to have joked with Cole that the player had been a "naughty boy" and threatened to close down his Twitter account.

Hodgson said that he was pleased not to have been left in a position by the FA when he was forced to drop Cole. "The chairman has gracefully accepted the apology from Ashley," he said. "I know how disappointed and saddened he is with the situation. I'm quite relieved as an England manager that this matter has been completely resolved.

"This is a player with 98 caps and who has hardly ever missed a game for England when he's been fit. He's been regarded as one of the best, if not the best, left-back in the world for years.

"No one could question his commitment to the shirt, which makes his contrition the greater that he might have put his position in jeopardy. I'm glad he hasn't done that."