The Sports Matrix: Friday 10 February 2012


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The Independent Online

Race revelations embarrass England caretaker Pearce

The Football Association yesterday faced accusations of hypocrisy for appointing Stuart Pearce, who had to apologise for allegedly racially abusing Paul Ince in 1994, as interim England manager.

The FA lost its captain and manager within six days over a row regarding alleged racial abuse by John Terry, so Pearce's reported abuse of Ince in a Premier League game in 1994 threatened to embarrass the FA last night, after it was announced that he would be in charge for the friendly against the Netherlands on 29 February.

"We have got a match at the end of February, we need a short-term, quick answer," said the FA chairman, David Bernstein. "We have a team of good football people within the FA set-up and Stuart is one of them. He is a first-class, available option for this match."

Regarding a new manager for Euro 2012 and beyond, Bernstein said all options were open. "We are not prepared to restrict ourselves at this stage," he said. "He might be English, he might be British, he might not be, he might be for the Euros only, he might be long-term. We need to look at all the options." MORE

McIlroy back in the running in Dubai

Rory McIlroy finished the first day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic three shots behind the leader, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, after a round of 66. The tournament is at the course on which McIlroy won his first professional title, three years ago. MORE

Ullrich banned for blood doping

Jan Ullrich, the German winner of the 1997 Tour de France, was yesterday given a two-year suspension for blood doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It will have little impact on the 38-year-old Ullrich, who stopped racing in 2007. MORE

Redknapp 'never thought' of England

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, the favourite to replace Fabio Capello, said yesterday that he has "never thought about" the England job. "Tottenham have been fantastic," he said. "It wouldn't be right to focus on anything else than Tottenham" MORE

Brooking deflates Euro 2012 hopes

Sir Trevor Brooking has talked down England's prospects this summer, saying they would not have been favourites at Euro 2012 even with Fabio Capello in charge. "You've got Holland, Germany and Spain," he said. "We haven't won a tournament for 46 years." MORE

Lancaster selects unchanged team

The England coach, Stuart Lancaster, has picked the same team to play Italy tomorrow that won in Scotland last weekend. He said: "I want to see the discipline we showed in Edinburgh. It's something on which we've focused." MORE

England play Lions side in warm-up

England will play England Lions in a one-day practice match in Abu Dhabi today, before Monday's first one-day international against Pakistan. Alastair Cook will captain England and Craig Kieswetter will keep wicket but not open the batting. MORE

Villas-Boas at ease with extra attention

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has insisted he has no worries about the increased attentions owner Roman Abramovich is showing the team. "You can speculate whatever you want," Villas-Boas said. "But for us it is fantastic to have him here." MORE

Vieira: People don't want City to win

Manchester City executive Patrick Vieira has hit out at perceived refereeing inconsistencies which he says shows "people don't want us to win the league". "Anything City do will be amplified," he said of red cards given to Vincent Kompany and Mario Balotelli. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

It is impossible, even as someone who applauded his appointment, not to place the burden of blame at Fabio Capello's door. He had a job to finish and by making a stand on the captaincy, he left his own consistency in question.  MORE