Cole to fight on over tapping-up fine

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The Independent Football

The Arsenal defender had his initial £100,000 fine reduced to £75,000 by a Premier League appeals committee on Wednesday but is determined to carry on the fight against the verdict on a point of principle.

A statement from the player's solicitor, Graham Shear, said: "We have considered the appeal committee's comments and discussed the same with Ashley Cole. Ashley is absolutely adamant that he will be proceeding to an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as he remains entirely dissatisfied with the result.

"It is interesting to note that [Jose] Mourinho and Chelsea seem happy with their fines and punishments. However, my client feels that he has done little if anything wrong and therefore is not satisfied."

Cole and his legal team believe the punishment for meeting with the Chelsea manager, Mourinho, and the chief executive, Peter Kenyon, amounts to a restraint of trade.

The talks in a London hotel came as the 24-year-old England full-back was considering a move away from Arsenal. Having decided to remain at Highbury, it had been thought Cole might accept his punishment and try to move on.

Mourinho had his £200,000 penalty reduced to £75,000 by the same appeals committee and has accepted the guilty verdict while Chelsea did not appeal against their £300,000 fine. However, the player is ready to test the Premier League rules which prevent a footballer from talking to another club while still under contract.

After the original hearing, Shear questioned why "footballers cannot speak to prospective future employers". He added: "It grabs hold of the master-and-servant relationship that employees had a century ago. A footballer is a modern employee and should not be restrained in this way."

Cole's agent, Jonathan Barnett, who was singled out for blame by the original commission, has still to find out whether the Football Association is to take any disciplinary action against him for his part in the affair.

l Arsenal have moved to secure the long-term future of the teenage Cesc Fabregas to help them cope with the departure of Patrick Vieira to Juventus. The Gunners have offered the 18-year-old central midfield player a new six-year contract to keep him in north London until 2011. A significant pay rise underlines his increasing value to the club.

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