Cole fined by Chelsea over air-rifle incident

Chelsea have fined Ashley Cole over his accidental shooting of a student at the club's training ground a week ago. The club has investigated the extraordinary incident, which took place on 20 February, and believe the matter is now closed.

Cole, who earns £120,000 a week, was allegedly holding a powerful air rifle to show to team-mates when he accidentally shot Tom Cowan, a 21-year-old sports science student who had been on placement at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham, Surrey.

Cole claims he did not realise the weapon – which does not require a licence – was loaded. Chelsea's medical staff treated the wound in the student's side, and yesterday sources close to the player were playing down the incident, claiming the shot was a graze and did not break the skin.

However, the club last night issued a brief statement, which read: "We have fully investigated the incident and we are taking appropriate action. We will not be commenting further as it is an internal matter."

The bizarre incident, though, is hugely embarrassing for Chelsea, who had introduced tougher security measures at their training HQ following previous newspaper revelations that John Terry arranged tours of the complex in exchange for donations to charity. Cole will take his customary place in Chelsea team to play Premier League leaders Manchester United at Stamford Bridge tomorrow evening.

It is not the first time Cole has been accused of breaching protocol. Last February it was reported that he had tricked a club official into lying for him over an alleged extra-marital affair.

This month Cole, 30, became England's most capped left-back and was voted his country's player of the year by supporters. Cole's season took a turn for the worse when he missed a penalty last weekend as Everton knocked holders Chelsea out of the FA Cup on a shootout.

The air-gun incident comes with Chelsea in dire need of a victory over United to move back above Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place in the Premier League, amid growing stories of discontent within the camp.

Didier Drogba is reported to be unhappy at the way he has been forced out of the team by £50m signing Fernando Torres. Drogba, who turns 33 next month, was dropped for the recent games against FC Copenhagen and Fulham to make room for Torres up front. Earlier this season he had to play despite suffering from malaria because Chelsea were already missing Terry and Frank Lampard through injuries.

Drogba has been squeezed out in recent weeks as Carlo Ancelotti has tinkered with formations in an attempt to discover the system that best compliments the predatory ability of Torres.

The 2-0 victory over Copenhagen last week, in which Anelka scored twice, was the team's best display for a month following the deadline-day signing of Torres, and it is unlikely that Ancelotti will make further changes ahead of such a crucial game, leaving Drogba facing an increasingly uncertain future.

Ancelotti, however, will be keenly aware that the last Chelsea manager to leave out Drogba for a prolonged period of time was Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was promptly sacked when results dipped.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones