Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cole Starts Campaign to Clear His Name

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cole Starts Campaign to Clear His Name

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jim van Wijk

Arsenal defender Ashley Cole last night began his fight to clear his name in the `tapping-up' row that is threatening to engulf football.

The Premier League confirmed an appeal had been lodged by the England star's legal team over the sanctions imposed by an independent commission last week.

The England full-back was found guilty of making an illegal approach to another club and fined pounds 100,000 for his "unacceptable" conduct by the commission, which also handed Chelsea a pounds 300,000 fine and a suspended three-point deduction and fined manager Jose Mourinho pounds 200,000.

Cole's agent Jonathan Barnett was also heavily criticised, although he did not come under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Cole's legal team, led by solicitor Graham Shear, have put together a formal appeal, which is likely to focus on the existing legislation acting as restraint of trade.

The case will now be heard by an FA Premier League appeals board, which will be made up of an independent, legally-qualified chairman and two FA councillors. Chelsea still have time before the 14-day deadline, from June 1, to lodge an official appeal against the sanctions imposed.

There is unlikely to be a swift conclusion to the saga, which could eventually have to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Cole's immediate future is clouded after the 24-year-old admitted he felt aggrieved by what he sees as a lack of support from Arsenal, and in particular vice-chairman David Dein, over the sorry episode which originated from stalled contract talks.

Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are both rumoured to be interested in the pounds 20m-rated defender, although Arsenal insist they want him to stay at Highbury.

The player cast doubts on this by declaring at the weekend: "I can't help feeling it's all over," in a newspaper interview. …

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