Rio Ferdinand charged by FA for Ashley Cole 'choc ice' tweet in wake of John Terry trial
RIO Ferdinand will discuss his response to a Football Association charge for improper conduct with Manchester United’s legal advisers after being told he could be fined or suspended for a tweet about Chelsea defender Ashley Cole.
Ferdinand, who was charged on Monday night by the FA after acknowledging a tweet from a follower earlier this month which described Cole as a “choc-ice”, is believed to be more likely to be fined than banned should he be found guilty of the charge.
But with the player understood to be exasperated by the FA’s stance on the issue and its position on the use of Twitter, Ferdinand is to consider his options with the club’s advisers before responding to the charge later this week.
An FA statement, issued on Monday, read: “The FA has today charged Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand with improper conduct in relation to comments posted on Twitter. The allegation is that the player acted in a way which was improper and/or bought the game into disrepute by making comments which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.
“Ferdinand has until 4pm on Aug 2 to respond to the charge.”
A fine is understood to be the likeliest outcome subject to Ferdinand accepting the charge. Carlton Cole was fined £20,000 by the FA in April last year following a tweet during England’s 1-1 draw against Ghana at Wembley, when he tweeted: “Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises. I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha. The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St George’s flag!”
The tweet relating to Ashley Cole which has now earned Ferdinand a charge followed the acquittal of John Terry of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother, Anton. Cole acted as a witness in the trial.
A day after the verdict, Ferdinand appeared to endorse a tweet describing Cole as a “choc ice”, a slang term perceived as meaning black on the outside and white on the inside.
Ferdinand tweeted: “I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic hahahahahaha!!”
Ferdinand later tweeted that it was “not a racist term. It’s a type of slang/term used by many for someone who is being fake”.
Cole said at the time he did not plan to complain. “Ashley Cole has been made aware of the discussion following comments appearing on Twitter and wishes to make it clear that he and Rio Ferdinand are good friends and Ashley has no intention of making any sort of complaint,” a spokesman for him said at the time.
“Ashley appreciates that tweeting is so quick it often results in off-hand and stray comments.”
While Ferdinand has yet to decide on his response to the charge – an acceptance of the charge has not been ruled out – the 33 year-old has fought the FA in the past when he believed himself to have been wrongly punished by the governing body.
In January 2010, Ferdinand fought a three-game ban for violent conduct after hitting out at Hull City’s Craig Fagan, only to be given an extra game on the suspension because the FA panel regarded his appeal to be 'frivolous.’