Cole fined and warned by FA

The West Ham star was charged with improper conduct in relation to

media comments made on March 29 – the night of England’s clash with

Ghana. Having admitted the charge and requested a personal hearing,

Cole was warned and fined £20,000 on Wednesday. Cole had

commented about the large number of Ghana fans at Wembley for the

friendly international, which ended in a 1-1 draw. 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!” Cole,

whose mother hails from Sierra Leone and his father from Nigeria,

later deleted the message and said it had been a joke. Cole’s fine

is twice that handed to Ryan Babel, then playing for Liverpool,

earlier this season. Babel posted a mocked-up picture of referee

Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt on Twitter following

Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in January. Commenting after

the Cole verdict, the PFA’s deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes,

who was among the delegation who represented the striker at

Wednesday’s hearing, urged his members to take care when using

social networking sites. He wrote on the PFA’s website: “This case,

along with the recent Ryan Babel case, highlights the need for

players to be vigilant when using social media. “It is ironic that

at a time when players are accused of being distant and out of

touch with supporters that attempts to communicate can bear such

potential sanctions. “The PFA holds the view that whilst the use of

social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be useful and an

inevitable communication vehicle in these times, clear guidelines

need to be applied. “We would advise players not to stop tweeting

but to bear in mind that this is not an intimate private

conversation but a medium open to a potentially wide audience.”