Cole facing heavy fine
Ashley Cole is facing an unprecedented Twitter fine after being being charged with misconduct by the Football Association over his foul-mouthed attack on them.
The Chelsea and England left-back was bracing himself for the double-whammy of seeing his wages docked by his club and being forced to top up the coffers of the game's governing body, all for dubbing the latter a "bunch of t***ts".
Being fined two weeks' pay by the Blues would reportedly cost Cole around £240,000, with an FA punishment potentially pushing the total over a quarter of a million pounds, which is thought to be the biggest ever in football for a social-media offence.
That would leave the 31-year-old even more out of pocket than Chelsea team-mate John Terry if the latter does not appeal his guilty verdict in his FA racist abuse case and forks out £220,000. It was the written judgment following that hearing which sparked Cole's Twitter tirade, after an independent FA regulatory commission cast doubt on evidence he provided in support of Terry.
The FA said in a statement on their website: "Chelsea FC's Ashley Cole has been charged by The FA in relation to a Twitter comment which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute."
Cole was given until 4pm on Thursday to respond to the charge, the timing far from ideal given the deadline is barely 24 hours before England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley.
It is not thought there is any threat to Cole's chances of winning his 99th cap on Friday, beyond the fact manager Roy Hodgson may elect to rest him ahead of the crucial trip to Poland four days later.
Whilst the FA do have disciplinary jurisdiction to suspend Cole if they wished, in instances of this nature they are far more likely to hit the defender with a fine rather than banning him for the San Marino game, despite former England captain Alan Shearer calling for them to do so.
Cole responded to Shearer by retweeting a comment referencing an incident in a game in 1998 when the former forward's boot made contact with Neil Lennon's face but was found by the FA to have made a "genuine attempt to free himself" from a tangle.
Cole retweeted a post from @CollinR4 which read: "Alan Shearer says @TheRealAC3 needs to be banned for comments. I want his opinion on bans for kicking Neil Lennon in the head. #GlassHouses."