Ashley Cole apologises for labelling FA a 'bunch of t**ts' after his evidence in John Terry trial is questioned

 

Simon Rice
Friday 05 October 2012 18:35
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Ashley Cole and John Terry
Ashley Cole and John Terry

Ashley Cole hit out at the FA earlier today, calling them 'a bunch of twats', after it was claimed that his evidence had been changed in the John Terry racism trial.

The FA published its written reasons this morning for an independent commission finding Terry guilty of insulting Anton Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and QPR at Loftus Road last season.

The Chelsea captain was banned for four-matches and fined £220,000 after the FA found Terry's defence that he had not racially insulted the QPR defender was “improbable, implausible and contrived”.

In the written reasons, Cole's statement supporting Terry's version was questioned by the commission.

In response, the former Arsenal defender took to Twitter. "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS," he wrote.

He later deleted the tweet, but not before it was re-tweeted more than 19,000 times.

The defender has since apologised for his outburst, saying it was done in the 'heat of the moment.'

In a statement released this afternoon, Cole said: "I had just finished training and saw the captions on the TV screens in the treatment rooms about what was said in the FA Commission ruling about me.

"I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment. I apologise unreservedly for my comment about the FA."

Terry had been cleared in Westminster Magistrates Court in July of a racially-aggravated public order offence, partly helped by the testimony of England and Chelsea team-mate Cole.

However, the commission found that there were discrepancies in Cole's initial statement to FA interviewers of what he heard Ferdinand say to Terry compared to later statements.

Cole did not mention the word 'black' in the initial interview with the FA on October 28. On November 3, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard asked the FA for the specific word 'black' to be inserted into Cole's witness statement, suggesting that Cole may have heard Ferdinand use the term.

The commission saw an email exchange between the FA and Barnard and said that should be regarded as "cogent new evidence".

The commission said: "These highly material issues relating to Mr Cole's evidence were not addressed by the Chief Magistrate - he clearly did not have the interview notes of the FA's interviewers, or Mr Barnard's statement before him - and they do not appear in his judgment.

"Accordingly, that material can and should properly be regarded as cogent new evidence.

"Had it been before him, the commission has no doubt that the Chief Magistrate would have examined Mr Cole's evidence as to what he claims he heard Mr Ferdinand say to Mr Terry on the pitch very carefully indeed, or scrutinised it even more closely than he may have done."

It adds: "All of this causes the commission to have very real concerns about the accuracy of Mr Barnard's recollections, and the motivation for the assertions that he makes in his witness statement about what Mr Cole said during the FA interview of him, particularly his alleged use of the word 'black'."

Chelsea said Cole did not accept the criticism made of him by the commission.

A club statement said: "Ashley co-operated at all times with the FA and stands by the evidence that he gave and does not accept the criticism that has been made."

Chelsea added that they stand by Barnard completely and that he acted with complete integrity throughout the process.

"David co-operated fully with the FA at all times. He stands by his evidence and does not accept the criticism that has been made," the statement continued.

"It should also be noted that David was not given the opportunity to give oral evidence to the commission, so we feel any criticism is unjustified."

Speaking at today's press conference ahead of Chelsea's match against Norwich, manager Roberto Di Matteo said they would look into Cole's outburst.

"We'll look at the tweet and then we'll see. Apart from this, I don't think the players are out of control," he said.

Immediately following Cole's tweet, there was speculation about its implications with regard to his role in the England team. Terry retired from international duty after deciding the case had made his position with the national team untenable.

But England manager Roy Hodgson has spoken to Cole and the Chelsea defender will join up with the squad on Monday as planned. Should be appear in the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, it will see him reach 100 caps.

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