1. ITV Report

Tweet fuels football racism row

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The John Terry racism row was reignited when his teammate and defence witness Ashley Cole was attacked on Twitter - with Rio Ferdinand laughingly reacting.

Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday.

It was alleged that he had maliciously called Rio's brother Anton - a Queens Park Rangers defender - a "f****** black c***" during a match on October 23 last year.

Cole, 31, had told the trial that Terry, his Stamford Bridge captain and friend, was not racist.Cole, who also told the court he was a longstanding friend of the Ferdinand brothers, was accused by one person who sent a tweet to Rio Ferdinand of being a "choc ice".

Chelsea and England's Ashley Cole. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The term is commonly understood to mean "black on the outside, white on the inside".

The person wrote: "Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice.

"Then again he's always been a sell out.

"Shame on him."

Manchester United defender Rio, who played with Terry at the heart of England's defence and whose parents attended every day of the five-day trial in support of his brother, replied: "I hear you fella!

"Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!"

John Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Users began discussing the comments and reacting to them and Ferdinand wrote: "And if I want to laugh at something someone tweets....I will! Hahahahaha! Now stop getting ya knickers in a twist!"

Cole moved to calm the situation down and issued a statement through his lawyers.

It said: "Ashley Cole has been made aware of the discussion following comments appearing on Twitter and wishes to make it clear that he and Rio Ferdinand are good friends and Ashley has no intention of making any sort of complaint.

"Ashley appreciates that Tweeting is so quick it often results in off-hand and stray comments."Rio, who unlike Terry was left out of the England squad that went to Euro 2012, later referenced the Blues centre half's legal defence by tweeting he was being sarcastic.

The "choc ice" response was apparently deleted.

Terry won what was one of the biggest battles of his sporting life after Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said an acquittal was the only verdict he could reach.

The wrong result would have spelled the end of Terry's international career, destroyed his reputation and potentially cost him a fortune in sponsorship and other deals.

The district judge said despite the abundance of TV footage, there was no way to be sure what Terry had said.