Fulham’s season was plunged into further crisis on Wednesday when the Football Association found Andrew Cole guilty of two charges of bringing the game into disrepute and doubled his suspension from three to six matches.
Cole, one of two Fulham players sent off in last month’s fiery Barclays Premiership clash with West Brom, was dismissed for throwing punches, including one attempted haymaker, following a clash with Baggies midfielder Neil Clement.
The former England striker has already served a three-match suspension but attended a disciplinary hearing held at the FA’s headquarters at Soho Square on Wednesday and was found guilty of using abusive language to a match official and violent conduct.
For the abusive language Cole was given an extra two-match suspension, to start immediately, while the violent conduct carried a one-game ban. He was also slapped with a £10,000 fine, plus costs.
Fulham were making no comment on the penalty, though its severity has alerted the Professional Footballers’ Association who were to make further enquiries before giving any reaction.
Cole, who was fined by the club for his dismissal, will now miss the crucial league fixtures against Liverpool and Aston Villa plus the Carling Cup tie at Birmingham as Fulham attempt to turn around their season.
They have secured just two victories and four defeats from their eight Premiership matches.
On Monday night, without Cole, Fulham became the first Premiership side to lose to Crystal Palace this season and had Ian Pearce sent off in the process.
Cole was suspended for transgressing rule E3, which reads: “A participant shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour.”