Cole may quit Chelsea over threat of discipline

Defender furious at being singled out and will argue that he has not broken his contract

Ashley Cole is understood to be considering his Chelsea future over the club's determination to punish him in the wake of revelations about his extra-marital relationships.

The Chelsea and England left-back is said to be furious that the club are singling him out for disciplinary action, which will include a hefty fine and a possible suspension, after Sunday newspapers claimed he had an affair while on the club's tour to America last summer and asked an unwitting senior club official to help him cover it up.

Sources close to Cole yesterday suggested that if he feels victimised it could be enough to force him to leave the Stamford Bridge club, which he joined in a controversial, drawn-out transfer from Arsenal in 2006, and move abroad.

Cole, 29, is one of the most highly rated full-backs in the world and would easily be able to find a new club in the summer if he decides that Chelsea's treatment of him is unacceptable. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale would all undoubtedly be keen to recruit Cole, who is currently out of action with a fractured ankle.

The defender believes he would be able to escape some of the intense media attention were he to move abroad. Cole, who is married to pop singer Cheryl Cole, has been told he would get more privacy in Spain or Italy. He is also said to be tempted by the less punishing tax levels enjoyed by several European countries.

Cole is to argue his case when he faces members of the club's board later this week, after tomorrow night's Champions League knockout first leg against Inter, who are managed by Cole's former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho. The defender's case is believed to centre on the terms and conditions of his contract, and whether he has actually broken them by his behaviour. The club, however, are keen to make an example of Cole rather than John Terry, whose extra-marital affair cost him the England captaincy, because two of Cole's indiscretions happened on "club time".

Ann Corbitt, a 28-year-old local government worker, claimed she had an affair with Cole during the club's pre-season tour of Seattle. She also claimed the club contacted her to help her manage the media. It has also been reported that members of the Chelsea back-room staff helped Cole to sneak secretary Vicki Gough into his hotel room before a game at West Bromwich Albion last season.

The Chelsea board is taking an extremely tough stance over Cole's behaviour after the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, intervened last week to demand an end to the succession of sleazy stories that has engulfed the club in the past month.

Terry had an affair with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel, while three women have recently told newspapers that they have slept with Cole. Abramovich told the club's chief executive, Ron Gourlay, to issue the players with strict instructions about their behaviour.

Gourlay and the manager, Carlo Ancelotti, met with the squad last Wednesday, when Ancelotti handed each player a sheet with the club's code of conduct on it. Players were reminded that no one was above the law, and told that there would be no amnesty for indiscretions in the past that might come to light in the future.

Cole has also been in trouble with the law. Last month he was banned from driving for four months after speeding at 104mph in a 50mph zone. His defence that he was being chased by photographers failed to convince magistrates, who also dismissed his claim the speed gun had been faulty. Cole, who earns £100,000 a week, asked for 21 days to pay his £1,000 fine.

Cole's stand-in Yuri Zhirkov picked up a calf injury in the 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday and is definitely out of the Inter game.

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before