Soccer

Cole hits back at FA over criticism in racism case

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LONDON (AP)

Ashley Cole hit back at the English Football Association on Friday in a vulgar Twitter post after being criticized for his role in defending John Terry against a racism charge.

In another twist to the year-long racism case, Cole could face FA disciplinary action less than two weeks before he is expected to make his 100th English national team appearance.

Terry, Cole's teammate for England and Chelsea, was banned for four matches by the FA for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. The FA judgment released Friday said Terry was found guilty of misconduct in part due to ''inconsistencies'' in Cole's evidence.

A response posted on Cole's Twitter account said: ''Hahahahaa, well done (hash)fa I lied did I.'' He then added another hashtag followed by a vulgar expression.

The tweet was deleted after more than an hour, but it has been retweeted about 20,000 times.

The FA has not yet commented on the tweet, but Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said the club will investigate.

''We'll look at the tweet and then we'll see,'' Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said. ''Apart from this, I don't think the players are out of control.''

Cole has backed up Terry's defense that the racial slur was only used to counter an accusation of racism he claimed Ferdinand was leveling at him.

Cole told Terry's criminal trial in July that he believed he heard Ferdinand use the word ''black'' during the confrontation - something the QPR player denying saying. Terry was cleared of the criminal charges.

But the FA commission, which found Terry guilty, said in its written judgment released a week after the verdict that Cole did not mention the word ''black'' in the initial interview with them after the October match.

Later, though, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard wrote to the FA's disciplinary unit asking for the word ''black'' to be added into Cole's statement.

The three-man FA panel dedicated a section of its judgment to ''the `evolution' of Ashley Cole's evidence.''

It said there is ''considerable doubt as to whether the request to amend paragraph 4 of Mr. Cole's statement, to include the word `black,' was based on Mr. Cole's own personal recollections, or as a result of discussions that he had had with Mr. Barnard.''

Cole's ''issues and inconsistencies'' were cited by the FA as helping to show ''there is plainly more than enough cumulative evidence, both existing and new, to amount to a `clear and convincing' case.''

Chelsea, though, said it did not accept the criticism of Cole or Barnard.

''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,'' the European champions said in a statement.

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Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris

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