The Sports Matrix: Friday 8 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Racial abuse rears head in England base of Krakow

England's European Championship base of Krakow was at the centre of a new race row last night, as Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said his national association would complain to Uefa over chants directed at his players as they trained there yesterday.

Roy Hodgson's squad will train today at the stadium of Hutnik FC, and the chants heard by the Dutch players during a warm-up at Wisla Krakow's ground are ominous.

"It's a real disgrace, especially after getting back from Auschwitz, that we are confronted by this," Van Bommel said. "We will take it up with Uefa and if it happens during matches we will talk to the referee and ask to leave the field. If you did hear it and you don't want to hear it, it's even worse."

The episode comes as the footballing consequences of the Rio Ferdinand controversy rolled on. As John Terry insisted that he was fit for Monday's game with France, Hodgson experimented with Phil Jagielka rather than Joleon Lescott alongside him. Left-back Ashley Cole failed to train or to attend a function hosted by the mayor of Krakow yesterday.

England lose first day to heavy rain

The first day of the third Test between England and West Indies at Edgbaston was washed out yesterday. Today's forecast is slightly better but 90 overs is unlikely. There was no toss so it is not known yet whether Stuart Broad will play. MORE

Marler ready for physical debut

The young Harlequins prop Joe Marler will make his England debut against South Africa at Kings Park tomorrow, along with Exeter flanker Tom Johnson. "I'll have to front up," said Marler. "The Boks will be physical, it's up to us to match them." MORE

Grieving Defoe may miss France game

Jermain Defoe may be unavailable for England's game with France on Monday having flown home yesterday after the death of his father. It is not known when Defoe will return but he may miss too much training, leaving England with just two strikers. MORE

Downing: I am not to blame for stats

Stewart Downing has defended his record despite making no league assists for Liverpool last year. "I've constantly set up chances, as I did at Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Liverpool. I can't be criticised for not creating. I've just been unlucky." MORE

Decision due on Cook exclusion

The World Taekwondo Federation decided yesterday to investigate Aaron Cook's non-selection for the British Olympic team. The British Olympic Association will consult the WTF before deciding whether to overrule the decision not to choose Cook. MORE

Wiggins records time-trial victory

Bradley Wiggins beat his Tour de France and Olympics rivals in a 53km Critérium du Dauphiné time-trial stage yesterday. He beat Tony Martin, his main time-trial rival at the Olympics by 34 seconds, as well as 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans. MORE

Andrews pleased with 'clever' Trap

Keith Andrews praised Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni after he agreed to give the players a day off on Wednesday: "It was just a clever call. We've been training a lot. It was nice yesterday to literally do nothing, have a walk around. Spirits are high." MORE

Chelsea still keen on Battersea site

Chelsea have not given up on one day building a new stadium at Battersea Power Station despite yesterday losing preferred bidder status to Malaysian developers. The site was Chelsea's first-choice site on which to build a new ground. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

England are right to follow the Italian team and others in visiting Auschwitz. Some suspect that modern footballers are detached, but it is impossible to go there and not feel shock. It might just make them better men. MORE