Tindall costs Gloucester £100k


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The Independent Online

Mike Tindall's club, Gloucester, could be more than £100,000 out of pocket if the centre is unsuccessful in his appeal against his fine and dropping from the England elite player squad.

Under the terms of the Rugby Football Union's elite player agreement, a club receives an annual sum for each player they have in the senior England squad. In Tindall's case that is reckoned to be around £160,000 for the year running from 1 July this year to 30 June 2012.

The payment stops if a player is dropped from the EPS for disciplinary reasons. Pro rata, Tindall's omission, announced by the RFU on Friday with a £25,000 fine as punishment for his behaviour at the World Cup in New Zealand, would cost Gloucester around £105,000.

Tindall's Gloucester contract, worth in the region of £200,000, is up next summer. He is in the XV in Toulouse in the Heineken Cup today.

At 33, Tindall might not have expected his England career to endure much longer, but his EPS place would have been guaranteed to June. A revised squad is named on 1 January but a player can only be omitted on disciplinary or injury grounds.

The process for any disciplinary charge is set out in the 20-page EPS agreement, signed between the clubs, the 32 selected senior players and the RFU every summer. It is believed to include a schedule of suspensions and fines of half or all of a match fee.

Tindall's appeal is being handled by the Rugby Players Association. They will challenge not the legality but the severity of the punishment. Tindall gave his side of the story of his infamous night out in Queenstown to the RFU operations director, Rob Andrew, and legal secretary, Karena Vleck, on 3 November. It is now nine weeks since the night when Tindall was filmed by CCTV, apparently drunk and in an embrace with a woman who turned out to be an ex-girlfriend. It transpired he changed the version of events given to team management and his own advisers.

The appeal hearing will be convened by the RFU's acting chief executive, Martyn Thomas, and another member of the legal department.

Current and former England team-mates have rallied round Tindall, with Jonny Wilkinson calling him "a great person" and Austin Healey saying the £25,000 fine was "wrong... Tindall has been made a scapegoat". No one from Gloucester was available for comment yesterday.