Rio Ferdinand is kicking himself over the tweet that has landed him with an FA charge.
The Manchester United captain is frustrated that he let his guard down when he forwarded a Twitter message he’d received that called Ashley Cole ÔÇ£a choc iceÔÇØ, repeating the term in the process.
Ferdinand is one of footballÔÇÖs most prolific tweeters and prides himself on being responsible on the social networking site.
But on this occasion he repeated the inflammatory term – used to brand people black on the outside and white on the inside.
Now, Ferdinand is facing a heavy fine after being charged by the FA with “improper conduct and/or bringing the game into disrepute by making comments which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.ÔÇØ
It is the latest unhappy chapter in the long-running race row involving Chelsea captain John Terry, who was himself charged by the FA last week after being cleared in court of racially abusing QPRÔÇÖs Anton Ferdinand – RioÔÇÖs brother – after Cole appeared as a witness.
This latest twist in the tale began when Ferdinand was tweeted by pal Carlton Ebanks with a message that read: ÔÇ£Looks like Ashley ColeÔÇÖs going to be their choc ice. HeÔÇÖs always been a sellout. Shame on him.ÔÇØ
Ferdinand, who has three million Twitter followers, replied: ÔÇ£I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic hahahahahahha!!ÔÇØ
The Manchester United star later tried to defuse the exchange by saying: ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs sarcasm!ÔÇØ
But Ferdinand has found himself caught up in an FA clampdown on Twitter.
The English game’s governing body have written to players, clubs and the playersÔÇÖ union, the PFA, to warn them about their conduct on Twitter.
It is understood that Ferdinand, who has until Thursday to respond, regrets his tweet.
The FA issued a statement which read: ÔÇ£The FA has today charged Manchester UnitedÔÇÖs Rio Ferdinand with improper conduct in relation to comments posted on Twitter.
ÔÇ£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.ÔÇØ
The FA have tried to clamp down hard on race issues.
Last season, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester UnitedÔÇÖs Patrice Evra during a game.
TerryÔÇÖs high profile episode with Anton Ferdinand reached the courts where the ex-England captain was cleared – only then to be charged by the FA.
The Chelsea centre-back admits using racist language but his defence was that he was only repeating something that had been said to him.
But while Terry could be facing a lengthy ban, Rio Ferdinand is almost certainly only likely to face a heavy fine.
West Ham striker Carlton Cole was fined ┬ú20,000 after being found guilty of writing insulting tweets referring to Ghanian fans at Wembley for an England friendly.
FerdinandÔÇÖs punishment is likely to be in the same territory, if he pleads guilty and accepts the charge.