The FA have today published the report which explained the reasons for John Terry’s ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
In their report, doubt was cast on Ashley Cole’s statement supporting John Terry in his appeal.
After reading the report (or being told what it said), Cole took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS”.
Cole did not mention the word ‘black’ in the initial interview with the FA on October 28th but a week later, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard asked the FA for the word ‘black’ to be inserted into Cole’s witness statement, suggesting that Cole may have heard Ferdinand use the term. Terry’s whole defence rested on his claim that he thought Ferdinand accused him of calling him a “black cunt”, meaning Cole’s change in testimony certainly helped Terry’s argument which had been branded “unlikely” in court.
The commission saw an email exchange between the FA and Barnard and said that should be regarded as “cogent new evidence”.
“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.
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’.”
After John Terry announced his retirement from Internatinoal football when it became apparent that the FA were likely to find him guilty and ban him, you have to wonder whether Cole is also thinking about hanging up on his boots on his England career.
Whilst you might be able to sympathise with the frustration he feels, if you believe he was telling the truth in his statement to the FA, it’s hard to understand what Cole thinks he will achieve by this. Given that Cole took a week to “remember” what he had actually seen, the FA are well within their rights to think that something a bit fishy is going on. They are justified in suggesting that Cole has changed his story after talking to Terry and the club about what his defence would be.
It’s hard to see how Cole could escape a ban/fine but his willingness to be so openly critical of the FA might suggest he doesn’t really care.