The charitable side of... Ashley Cole

Graham Willgoss

Ashley Cole is due to meet the News of the World in court, but in the meantime he's spending more time with his good causes.

"A lot of people look up to footballers, so you have to do things the right way, on and off the pitch," Arsenal and England footballer Ashley Cole once said. "You have to be respectable."

The implication carried by the News of the World, that he might have behaved less than respectably in an off-pitch situation, moved him to kick off legal action against the Sunday tabloid earlier this month for harassment, libel and breach of privacy.

In an article published in February, the paper reported that two unnamed footballers were caught on camera in an orgy with a well-known music industry figure. Although Cole was not directly named, his lawyers have complained that the photograph and accompanying text suggested he was involved.

One place where Cole is happy to be photographed, however, is sitting in Shelter's red chair for the charity's Million Children Campaign. From 29 March, his picture will be on display at the Oxo Tower in London in an exhibition designed to raise awareness of the number of UK children living in unfit, cramped or emergency housing.

Shelter is not the only good cause the left-back has lent his name to while he is struggling to regain fitness in time for this summer's World Cup in Germany.

The 25-year-old has given his support to the Institute of Cancer Research's Everyman campaign to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, dubbed 'Keep Your Eye on the Ball'. He has also backed the Let's Kick Racism Out of Football campaign, and once auctioned his car to raise money for the Marc Fisher Trust - a charity established for sufferers of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. All very respectable.

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