Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

The Sport Matrix: Thursday 7 November 2013


Townsend’s father defends decision  to tackle Hodgson

The father of England’s Andros Townsend has insisted that the Kick It Out anti-racism organisation was right to seek an explanation from the Football Association about the England manager Roy Hodgson’s joke last month in which his son was referred to as “the monkey”.

Hodgson will today be asked to address the issue for the first time at a press conference coinciding with the squad announcement for England’s friendlies against Chile and Germany this month. Troy Townsend, who manages Kick It Out’s mentoring and leadership work, was speaking on the issue for the first time. He told i that his organisation had an “obligation to ask the question” about Hodgson telling the England players to “feed the monkey” by passing to his son in the World Cup qualifier against Poland at Wembley.

“People think we are going for Roy Hodgson. We are not,” he said. “If that happened at grassroots level, you would ask [for an explanation]. Why is it different with the national team?”

Kick It Out wrote to the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, seeking “to ascertain the full facts” after details of the joke – which the Tottenham player insisted via Twitter had caused him no offence – were published on 16 October. The organisation said it was satisfied with the explanation it received from the FA but its pursuit of the issue led to criticism of the campaigners.

Townsend Snr is a leading figure in Kick It Out’s attempts to overcome the racial and sexual bias in football. But though the 20-year-old organisation has diversified beyond race quality issues, Townsend said that it would be complacent to assume that British football had put the problem in the past.

“Racism has always been there,” he said. “We get complacent because we always put it in the background. There is still some pretty horrendous stuff. It’s like a revolving circle; it will go quiet for a long time, people will assume it is not here and then it’s around again – not just in Britain, of course, but everywhere, as the events in Moscow [where Yaya Touré was racially abused] go to prove.” MORE

Rampant Ramsey keeps Arsenal top

Aaron Ramsey’s 11th goal of the season took Arsenal to the top of Group F as they recorded a superb 1-0 victory at Borussia Dortmund. The Welshman headed home just after the hour in the Westfalenstadion to secure an unlikely win against last season’s finalists. MORE

Eto’o helps Chelsea take control

Samuel Eto’o scored either side of half-time as Chelsea went three points clear of Group E with a 3-0 victory over Schalke at Stamford Bridge. Substitute Demba Ba added a late third to leave Jose Mourinho’s side a victory away from reaching the last sixteen. MORE

Celtic drop to last after Ajax defeat

Celtic’s chances of making the knockout stages of the Champions League were damaged last night after they lost 1-0 at Ajax. Neil Lennon’s side, who beat the Dutch team at home a fortnight ago, went down to Lasse Schone’s goal to drop to the bottom of Group H. MORE

Poyet secures Chelsea reunion

Sunderland overcame Southampton 2-1 to secure a Capital One Cup quarter-final tie at home to Chelsea - former side of manager Gus Poyet. Phil Bardsley and Seb Larsson scored for the hosts before Maya Yoshida’s late consolation. MORE

Carberry bats into Test contention

Alastair Cook (154) and Michael Carberry (153) both finished unbeaten as England XI ended day one of their tour match against Australia A on 318 without loss. Carberry is now in prime position for an opening slot for the first Ashes Test. MORE

Nadal confirms No 1 spot for end of year

Rafael Nadal continued his recent form as he cantered past Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets to confirm his place in the semi-finals of the World Tour Finals. The 7-6 7-6 win also confirmed the Spaniard would end the year as world No 1. MORE

Robshaw: England will be on the ball

Chris Robshaw insists England will not let up in momentum when they face Argentina on Saturday. “There won’t be any drop-off,” he said. “Matches against sides like the Pumas are tough challenges.” MORE

Lewis Moody

Geoff Parling is a fine player and a brilliant leader but Stuart Lancaster has said he will pick on form – as with Lee Dickson – and Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury are a notch ahead. MORE