Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been fined and warned about his future conduct over a comment he made on Twitter where he referred to Chelsea's Ashley Cole as "choc ice", the English FA said on Friday.
"Rio Ferdinand has been fined 45,000 pounds after an Independent Regulatory Commission found proven a charge of improper conduct in relation to a comment posted on Twitter," a statement on the FA's website (www.thefa.com) said.
"The Commission decided that the comment was improper and brought the game into disrepute. In addition, the Commission found that the breach included a reference to ethnic origin, colour or race."
The Twitter comment in question was posted after Cole had given evidence in the criminal trial of Chelsea captain John Terry, who was subsequently found not guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton during a Premier League match last October.
Ferdinand was responding to a Twitter user who had said: "Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice."
Ferdinand wrote: "I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic!hahahahahahha!"
The term "choc ice" is understood by many to have racial connotations, meaning a person is black on the outside and white on the inside.
Ferdinand later deleted the post and denied the term was racist.