The English Football Association says Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has denied a charge of improper conduct over a Twitter comment he made about Chelsea rival Ashley Cole.

The FA says Ferdinand has requested a hearing in the case.

Ferdinand's remark followed a racism trial last month in which Cole's teammate John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Queens Park Rangers defender Anton, during a Premier League match.

Cole, who along with the Ferdinands is black, appeared in court as a defense witness. Ferdinand later seemed to endorse a tweet describing Cole as a ''choc ice,'' a slang term perceived as meaning black on the outside and white on the inside.

The FA said the comments breached rules by referring ''to ethnic origin and/or color and/or race.''