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
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

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future