West Ham striker Carlton Cole accepts FA Twitter charge

Carlton Cole
Cole has scored 11 goals in 38 appearances this season

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has accepted a Football Association charge of improper conduct for remarks made on social networking site Twitter.

During England's 1-1 draw with Ghana at Wembley in March Cole tweeted: "Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap!

"Hahaha. The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George's flag!"

Cole later withdrew the comments but was still charged by the FA.

The England international, who won his last cap in March 2010, accepted the charge on Thursday and is now likely to receive a fine or a warning.

An FA statement read: "The FA has charged West Ham United's Carlton Cole with improper conduct relating to media comments.

"The charge relates to comments made on Twitter during the England v Ghana fixture on 29 March 2011."

Cole, who has scored 11 goals for the Hammers this season, has requested a personal hearing which will take place before 21 April.

It is not expected that the 27-year-old will be banned for any of West Ham's remaining matches because of the comments.

Lord Ouseley, head of Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, said: "We continually urge the responsible use of mediums such as Twitter, particularly due to their increasing accessibility and popularity.

"What can seem like harmless comments can be deemed offensive by others and lead to unwittingly reinforcing negative stereotyping, including racist ones.

"We will work with all our partners to ensure that education on what is and isn't unacceptable behaviour is ongoing."

Cole's reprimand is the latest in a number of incidents regarding Twitter that the FA has felt the need to investigate.

In January, Dutch winger Ryan Babel was fined £10,000 and warned about his future conduct by the FA over a post he made on Twitter.

Babel, who was a Liverpool player at the time, linked to a mocked-up picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt in reference to the official awarding a penalty to the home side and sending off visiting captain Steven Gerrard in Liverpool's 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford.

The following month, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere escaped punishment after tweeting about referee Phil Dowd following his side's 4-4 draw with Newcastle.

The FA looked into the matter but stopped short of punishing the midfielder.

During last year's World Cup in South Africa, England's players were banned from posting comments on Twitter or Facebook or writing articles for newspapers for the duration of the tournament.

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