The Football Association is expected to charge Ashley Cole with misconduct in the next 24 hours for branding the governing body a "bunch of twats" on his Twitter account.
Cole's comment came after the full findings of an independent regulatory commission report into the John Terry racism affair cast serious doubt on the evidence he had supplied on behalf of the Chelsea captain. The tweet, apparently sent while he underwent treatment after training, was subsequently deleted and a public apology issued through his solicitors. But, regardless, the FA's governance department is due to sit on Monday and will launch an investigation into the matter.
While there is no mandatory method of sanction for such an offence, a guilty verdict is likely to incur a fine rather than a ban, as was the case when Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 for re-tweeting a message in which a follower had called Cole a "choc ice" after Terry had been acquitted at Westminster magistrates court in July. The left-back should discover whether he is to be charged after he has joined up with Roy Hodgson's England squad to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
Chelsea have opened their own disciplinary proceedings against Cole after he breached the club's code of conduct on social media. The manager, Roberto Di Matteo, has spoken to the player and, after Saturday's victory over Norwich City, confirmed: "We have got a social media policy in the club and there is going to be disciplinary action over the tweet and that's how I leave it." That should amount to a two-week fine, around £240,000, and it remains to be seen how the matter affects the left-back's negotiations over a new deal. Cole is out of contract next summer, with talks to date having failed to reach agreement over an extension.
The full-back currently has 98 caps, though he may have to wait until next year to complete his century with Hodgson, having long been considering his omission from Friday's game against San Marino amid familiar concerns over the state of the full-back's ankle. The second game of the international double-header, against Poland in Warsaw, is the more daunting fixture and a match in which Cole's involvement would be considered more important.
Should the 31-year-old sit out the game at Wembley, he would most likely go into 2013 still attempting to become the sixth England player to complete a century of appearances for the national side as Hodgson intends to pick an experimental side for next month's friendly against Sweden in Stockholm. That would leave February's prestigious visit of Brazil the likeliest occasion for Cole to earn his 100th cap, having stressed to Hodgson his desire to continue playing for his country.
Everton's Leighton Baines, who played against Moldova and Ukraine last month, should start against San Marino, with Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs likely to withdraw from the 25-man party after sustaining a thigh injury in the victory at West Ham. If Gibbs does pull out Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand may return to the squad.
Liverpool's uncapped midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is also expected to link up with the England squad will that meets up at the new national football centre at St George's Park, Burton-upon-Trent, with the fitness of Frank Lampard to be assessed, along with that of the West Ham forward Andy Carroll. Lampard, who was in line to captain the side on Friday in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard, has a knee problem, while Hodgson will speak with Sam Allardyce about Carroll, who is lacking in match practice. "Hopefully he'll get a game against San Marino, but I will speak to Roy about Andy's fatigue levels," said Allardyce. "Andy would have been stiffer than everybody else after the Arsenal game on Sunday morning because he hasn't played a full 90 minutes in recent weeks. So he will take a bit more time to recover. But he should be fine for Friday."