The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 29 November 2011


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Tindall reinstated to elite squad and fine cut by £10,000

England centre Mike Tindall was last night reinstated to the elite squad by the Rugby Football Union's outgoing chief executive Martyn Thomas, and had his initial £25,000 fine cut to £15,000.

Thomas' explanation contained implied criticism of the initial decision, reached by director of elite rugby Rob Andrew and the RFU's legal officer. "We accept there were mitigating factors, which do not appear to have been taken into account to the extent that they might otherwise have been," Thomas said, who will leave the RFU on 16 December.

Tindall was punished after a well-publicised night of heavy drinking following a World Cup win over Argentina in September. There is no guarantee he will represent England again: a new elite squad will be named on New Year's Day.

The RFU's preferred choice as former coach Martin Johnson's successor, South African Nick Mallett, yesterday put himself back in contention for the role. "You can never say no," he said, despite family concerns. "England is a very big job and it would be a huge honour to do it." MORE

Mancini tears into Cup scheduling

Roberto Mancini has criticised the scheduling which sees his Manchester City side playing Arsenal tonight, two days after a league game. "It's incredible," he said. "It's a quarter-final. We should play with 11 young players. Maybe 14 or 15 years old." MORE

Di Matteo to stay as Chelsea assistant

Chelsea assistant manager Roberto di Matteo has pledged his immediate future to the club ahead of tonight's Carling Cup game with Liverpool. "Only the future will tell," he said. "I am very happy to be here. We will discuss, maybe at the end of the season." MORE

Southall calls for Speed tribute game

Neville Southall, Wales' most-capped player, last night called for a memorial match for late manager Gary Speed. "I'd love to see them play a game in international week against players from his former clubs," he said. The FAW will discuss the idea this week. MORE

Lions 2013 tour games announced

The British and Irish Lions have confirmed their dates for the 2013 tour of Australia. They will play three Tests, on 22 and 29 June, and 6 July, and against all five Australian Super 15 sides. The tour will start in Hong Kong against the Barbarians. MORE

Charlton end Huddersfield run

Charlton brought Huddersfield's 43-match unbeaten streak to an abrupt halt last night, beating them 2-0 at the Valley after first-half goals by Yann Kermogant and Hogan Ephraim. The win maintained Charlton's seven-point lead at the top of League One. MORE

It's all in the mind, says Federer

Roger Federer believes his excellent end to the season was due to a refreshing break. "I think it's a mental thing," he said after winning the ATP World Tour Finals. "That was one of the reasons why I did take some time off, to get into the right mental mindset." MORE

Barrichello hopes to race next season

Rubens Barrichello is determined to race next season despite the prospect of his not having a team. "I'm not ready to finish just yet," he said. "I am really hopeful." His best chance of a team for 2012 is Hispania Racing, who have just signed Pedro de la Rosa.

World Cup games go beyond England

The 2013 Rugby League World Cup will be spread across four countries. Although England is the centre, there will also be matches in Perpignan and Avignon in France, as well as in Limerick in Ireland and Wrexham and Neath in Wales. MORE

Cavendish heads award contenders

Cyclist Mark Cavendish and golfers Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy lead the nominations for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011. The shortlist also includes runner Mo Farah. The award will be made on 22 December.

Opinion: James Lawton

Gary Neville and Graeme Souness now provide authentic football debate, putting into words precisely what they are thinking. Neville is a professional of vast experience, meeting the requirement to provide insight. MORE