The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 26 January 2011

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The Independent Online

FOOTBALL

Sky sack Gray over 'offensive' behaviour

Andy Gray was sacked yesterday by Sky Sports after the revelation of a third piece of embarrassing footage following recent allegations of sexism. Sky Sports' managing director, Barney Francis, announced that Gray's contract had been terminated. Lawyers Schillings last night said that they had been instructed by Gray over the termination of his contract. The latest piece of footage showed the pundit adjusting a microphone unit attached to his belt and saying to the Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson: "Charlotte, can you tuck this down here for me?". Yesterday, a Sky Sports statement said that "the decision, effective immediately, was made in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour". This followed the news that while off-air during a Sky Sports broadcast on Saturday Gray questioned whether a female assistant referee would understand the offside law. Further footage was later revealed of Gray discussing the assistant referee with his colleague, Andy Burton, who was suspended for one game. That had been Gray's initial punishment before the latest revelations.

LEAGUE CUP

Arsenal reach first final since 2007

Arsenal beat Ipswich Town 3-0 in their semi-final second leg to win 3-1 on aggregate and reach their first final in four years. After a goalless first half, Nicklas Bendtner put them ahead before Laurent Koscielny and Cesc Fabregas assured the win.

TENNIS

Li 'can be the first Chinese champion'

Li Na will play world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open semi-finals after defeating Andrea Petkovic to extend her unbeaten run this year. Petkovic has backed Li to win the tournament and become China's first Grand Slam champion.

BOXING

What happened to the heavyweights?

With American boxers nowhere near their former pedigree and David Haye and Vladimir and Vitali Klitchsko all due to retire in the next two years without facing each other, the heavyweight division is in serious decline.

LEAGUE CUP

McLeish coy ahead of semi-final clash

Alex McLeish sidestepped questions about his future ahead of tonight's semi-final second leg with West Ham United at St Andrew's, in which they must overturn a 2-1 deficit. His opposite number Avram Grant has survived speculation to stay in his job.

TENNIS

Federer seeking Djokovic revenge

Roger Federer tomorrow has the chance to take vengeance on Novak Djokovic, the man against whom he wasted two match points before losing the US Open semi-final. Federer has played Djokovic three times since then, winning on each occasion. Page 47

PREMIER LEAGUE

Berbatov sparks thrilling comeback

Manchester United came from 2-0 down to win a thriller at Bloomfield Road 3-2. Blackpool were two ahead at half-time after Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell headed in corners. But two goals by Dimitar Berbatov and one by Javier Hernandez turned it round.

CRICKET

Injured Swann flies back to England

As Graeme Swann returns from Australia injured, coach Andy Flower has admitted the tour has taken its toll on his players: "It's unsurprising; it's a long, hard tour, not only do we play high intensity international cricket but we also train at high intensity," he said. Page 46

PREMIER LEAGUE

Villa too strong for struggling Wigan

Aston Villa recorded their second straight victory with a 2-1 success at Wigan. Gabriel Agbonlahor scored soon after half-time before Ashley Young converted a penalty. James McCarthy kept Wigan in it, but they now haven't won in the league since Boxing Day.

RUGBY UNION

Castrogiovanni to stay at Leicester

Martin Castrogiovanni is set to stay with Leicester Tigers despite tempting offers from several French clubs. On his decision he said: "A player has to think about a lot of things when he is trying to decide on the future, and money isn't everything."

OPINION

James Lawton

Chelsea are not the easiest club to love, but what happened at Bolton on Monday night spread a warm glow. It was the sight of an extremely good team playing again, really playing. It feels as if the real Chelsea are back. page 50

PREMIER LEAGUE

Dalglish praises returning Gerrard

Steven Gerrard returns from his suspension tonight for Liverpool in their home match with Fulham. Caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish has a shirt of Gerrard's up in his house and said that his captain has "played a huge role" in the club's history.

RUGBY LEAGUE

Hauraki hopes to make Rhinos debut

Leeds Rhinos' new signing Weller Hauraki is hoping to cut through a mass of red tape in order to make his debut on Friday. "I'm planning on being at the Rhinos for a long time so I don't mind waiting a bit longer to make my debut" said the New Zealander.

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