A FORMER England defender has been fined by the football authorities for sending homophobic messages to Coronation Street star Antony Cotton.

In the heaviest financial penalty ever imposed by them for homophobia, the Football Association gave former Everton and Manchester City full-back Michael Ball a £6,000 punishment.

Ball, 32, used social media site Twitter to abuse the Edenfield-born actor during the soap star’s stint in the jungle as part of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, last November.

The message, which included various profanities, alluded to Mr Cotton’s sexuality, accused him of “moaning” and urged him to “get back to your sewing machine in Corrie”.

The message was later deleted from the site.

Liverpool born Ball, who has also represented Rangers, PSV Eindhoven and played for Leicester City this season, won an England cap under Sven-Goran Eriksson against Spain in 2001.

After deciding that the message brought the game into disrepute, the FA also warned Ball about his future conduct.

Earlier this week Leicester City reached a mutual agreement to cancel his contract.

He made his last appearance for the Foxes in a Carling Cup tie at Cardiff back in September and the club said the decision was made on footballing grounds.

Mr Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in the long-running soap, has not commented on the matter.