Terry & Ferdinand incident rumbles on
The fall-out from John Terry's exchange with Anton Ferdinand during the west London derby between Chelsea and QPR almost a year ago continues to scatter itself around the Football Association.
England defender Ashley Cole's profanity - aimed at the FA via his Twitter feed after an independent regulatory panel stated there were discrepancies in his evidence in the report detailing why Terry was banned for racially abusing Ferdinand - caps a troubled time for manager Roy Hodgson.
Whatever personal injustices 31-year-old Cole felt were contained within the 63-page submission published on Friday morning, the abuse he aimed at the FA hours later was desperately ill-advised.
Cole effectively admitted as much as he deleted the tweet after 85 minutes before apologising "unreservedly" to the FA after his "heat of the moment" outburst - but much damage had been done as it had already been re-tweeted 20,000 times.
If he is to resume his international career without scars from Friday's episode he may need to undergo, to borrow a phrase from Kevin Pietersen's spat with England's cricket hierarchy, a period of "reintegration" with the FA.
The pre-match handshake has captured plenty of headlines, most recently when Ferdinand studiously ignored Terry and Cole before the recent meeting between QPR and Chelsea at Loftus Road.
And, if Cole is around to take his place in England's team to face San Marino in next Friday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley, it will be viewed as an awkward moment to see him greeting a line of FA dignitaries in the ceremonials after describing the organisation in such colourful and uncomplimentary terms - even if he was contrite later.
The Ferdinand (centre) and Terry saga rumbles on. Photo: Getty
If Cole's incendiary venture on to Twitter does threaten a fine England career currently spanning 98 caps, he will be the latest casualty of an affair that has caused untold complications for the FA.
Former coach Fabio Capello resigned in February as a direct result of the FA's decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy for a second time after his clash with Ferdinand, and it has also provided a backdrop to the early months of Hodgson's reign.
When Hodgson came to select his squad for Euro 2012, the prospect of Terry and Anton Ferdinand's brother Rio sharing the same dressing room became a point of contention. The England manager insisted he selected Terry ahead of Ferdinand purely on footballing grounds but still faced suggestions that the events of Loftus Road had played a part in the decision.
After Euro 2012, Terry, 31, was subsequently cleared in court - but the FA's decision to continue its own investigation then prompted him to announce his England retirement, claiming it had made his position untenable.
And so it continued, with Hodgson forced to apologise to Rio Ferdinand after the contents of a private conversation on the Tube in which he said he would not be selecting for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, even after Terry's departure, was made public.
It was a matter of embarrassment for Hodgson, despite the fact he was simply replying in a civil manner to a question asked while he was - rare for an England manager - travelling on public transport.
Capello, Terry, Ferdinand and now possibly Cole represents a stellar casualty list from that conversation at Loftus Road.
If Hodgson and the FA thought the lengthy report would draw a line under this damaging series of events, they were quickly proved wrong by Cole's Tweet. The apology was a clear attempt to take the heat out of the situation - whether it succeeds remains to be seen.
Cole will join up with the England squad as scheduled but is still likely to have some explaining to do - it is another matter for Hodgson and the FA to deal with ahead of two important games, particularly a testing trip to face Poland in Warsaw.
Cole has proved a divisive figure among England fans, seemingly condemned for what many regarded as his showbiz lifestyle and his marriage to pop star wife Cheryl - but even his sternest critics could never question his football credentials.
He has been a stalwart of England's defence since his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Albania in Tirana on 28 March 2001. Cole remains England's first-choice left-back despite the emergence of Everton's Leighton Baines, an outstanding deputy.
And throughout that England career he has been one of their undisputed world-class performers while enjoying a glittering club career with Arsenal and Chelsea.
Hodgson trusts Baines and has also called up Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs for the forthcoming games, but Cole is still one of the men he would have been counting on in his attempts to reach the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
It is a career and record that deserves better than to conclude in rancour, but after Cole's brief but explosive - and later retracted - attack on the FA, there are bridges to build.