The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 30 November 2011


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Thomas departs RFU as 'scapegoat' Tindall lets rip

Acting chief executive Martyn Thomas (below) made a sudden departure from the Rugby Football Union as world sport's biggest cabaret endured another routine day. Former captain Mike Tindall then criticised the RFU over their handling of his disciplinary appeal, claiming he "ended up being a scapegoat" for England's shambolic World Cup showing. Tindall was reinstated to the elite player squad this week following his earlier dismissal for drunken excesses during the New Zealand tournament. He also had his £25,000 fine reduced. "While I accept the decision, I still maintain the level of fine is not in line with other RFU disciplinary cases," the Gloucester player said. "I am deeply disappointed by the way the RFU has chosen to handle the situation and I have felt throughout the process that my case was made unnecessarily political and public; and that I ended up being a scapegoat." The decision to reinstate Tindall – whose appeal was heard by Thomas – caused fury among the RFU and within hours it was confirmed that the CEO would be leaving with immediate effect. MORE

City pay their subs to put out Arsenal

Substitute Sergio Aguero scored a late winner at the Emirates to earn Manchester City a 1-0 quarter-final win over Arsenal. Both sides made 10 changes from the weekend and a youthful home side impressed, only for Aguero to have the final say. MORE

Saints recover to remain at summit

Two goals in seven minutes helped Southampton come from behind to beat Hull 2-1 and retain their two-point lead at the top. West Ham kept up the pressure with a 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough, while Leeds thrashed Nottingham Forest 4-0.

Why women were overlooked in list

The absence of any females from the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award can be attributed to their respective sports' relative lack of popularity. Just 12 of the 51 people nominated this year were female. MORE

Reds romp past out-of-form Chelsea

Liverpool won at Stamford Bridge for the second time in nine days, beating Chelsea 2-0 to make the last four. Maxi Rodriguez, again, and Martin Kelly scored after the break for the seven-time winners to condemn the hosts to a fifth loss in nine games. MORE

Ecclestone warns of European cuts

Europe could be left with only five grands prix in future years, Bernie Ecclestone has warned. "Europe is a good place for tourism and not much else," the 81-year-old said. "Europe is finished." He did not say which races of the current nine would remain. MORE

Bluebirds fly into semis as Rovers wilt

Cardiff reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1966 as they beat Blackburn 2-0 last night. Kenny Miller opened the scoring on 19 minutes before Anthony Gerrard secured the win after 50 to pile more pressure on visiting manager Steve Kean. MORE

Murray tipped for Slam by Ivanisevic

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has backed Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam, despite the Scot losing all three finals he has reached. "He's definitely going to win a Slam," the Croat said. "Don't give up, man, you still have time." MORE

I've not heard from RFU, insists Ashton

The former England coach Brian Ashton has dismissed reports linking him with a return to the role in a caretaker position. "I have no idea where all this started," he said. "I've had no conversation on the subject with anyone from the Rugby Football Union." MORE

Welsh begin grand Williams send-off

The Welsh dressing room has been turned into a shrine to Shane Williams ahead of his final international against Australia. "I've turned up this morning, they've all got those daft masks on," the 34-year-old said. "It's been the stran-gest day of my career." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Restoring Mike Tindall to the elite list of players is not so much stepping into the past as ransacking the meaning of every worthwhile contribution by English players who have ever aspired to properly represent their country. MORE