“Going out for a drink is all part of team bonding”

Sad end: Martin Johnson and Mike Tindall

Mike Tindall, Poppygate, Seb Coe’s latest triumph and another episode of the Carlos Tevez soap opera, this week’s sporting and media quotes with JANINE SELF

“It seems unfair. I feel there is only this scandal because of who Mike is linked to. It happened the day after a game, they didn’t have another game for a week. Mike was always fit for the matches” Phil Tindall, bewildered dad of Mike, who was fined £25,000 and thrown out of English rugby’s elite performance squad for his antics in a New Zealand bar during the World Cup.

“Mike Tindall’s new status as official scapegoat – conferred most emphatically by his former team mate Matt Dawson – is maybe the final indictment of the crippled thinking that so bedevils English rugby union. We know that there are Twickenham types still walking around with the conviction that the entire Dwarfgate affair was a media conspiracy and that Tindall simply paid the price of having married into the royal family, but when someone of Dawson’s standing mouths the same nonsense you have to worry the game has a psychological problem. Scapegoats take the blame for the faults of others, but if anyone ever shaped his own fate it was surely Mike Tindall” James Lawton, The Independent. 

“And why was all this released last Friday, on the very day that the Heineken Cup swung into action? The news completely overshadowed the opening games of that illustrious tournament. It’s time new narratives were being written, with youngsters such as Tindall’s Gloucester teammate, wing Charlie Sharples, being hailed. We’d all like to move on. But the game is damned by its silence” Mick Cleary, The Telegraph.

“Mike is a strong man. He is strong on and off the field. He’s been a massive friend to me and a great team leader. It’s a real disappointment that this has happened. If we could turn back time and do things a bit differently we would have a go. But we can’t. It’s happened and there have been serious consequences. Going out for a drink is all part of team bonding and builds team spirit.Whether it’s the end for Mike with England I don’t know. I hope not” Jonny Wilkinson supports his England team mate.

“Mike Tindall’s actions reached a level of misconduct that was unacceptable in a senior England player and amounted to a very serious breach of the EPS Code of Conduct” Rob Andrew, the RFU’s rugby director.

“We regret to inform you that accepting such initiatives would open the door to similar initiatives from all over the world, jeopardising the neutrality of football. Therefore, we confirm herewith that the suggested embroidery on the match shirt cannot be authorised” FIFA tell England that no poppies will be allowed on the shirt for the friendly against Spain.

“I can’t understand FIFA’s position at all. It is not religious or political in any way. Wearing a poppy is a display of national pride, like wearing your country’s football shirt” Hugh Robertson, sports minister.

“I’m glad that a compromise has been reached and the players can have black armbands on Saturday with the poppy. It was sad that the issue was brought up in the first place. I do understand why FIFA has the rule regarding emblems on shirts but I think, at the end of the day, common sense has prevailed and I’m delighted” Jim Boyce, FIFA vice-president.

“You have to get used to off–field situations like this – it comes with the territory of playing for a top club like Chelsea and representing England. What you need to do is try and keep out of whatever controversy it is. You must remember it’s what matters on the pitch that’s the most important. That’s what most people react to and that’s what I will keep trying to do for club and country” Frank Lampard, skipper against Spain, talking about the fact his clubmate JohnTerry is under police investigation over the alleged racist abuse of Anton Ferdinand.

“This was a really good moment for me with my son getting married and England winning” Fabio Capello after the 1-0 win over world and European champions Spaon.

“Our style of football is totally different to England’s and we will never play that way. They were very physical and followed the manager’s orders to restrict us to the letter. I’m angry we didn’t win the game but we have learned a lesson and we will make sure this does not happen next summer” Vincent del Bosque’s verdict on his country’s 1-0 defeat.

“To say the least, I am very disappointed and extremely concerned now. He’s in danger of burning bridges rather than reconciliation. To go out to Argentina when – as I have been informed – he was clearly told not to because City needed to work on his fitness, and to blatantly ignore that instruction, starts to affect any chance of any reconciliation. He is leaving himself very vulnerable to strong action by the club” Gordon Taylor, head of the players’ union.

Name that price

“Our aim is to continue to deliver success for the fans and everyone associated with the club. We must make this club financially self-sufficient in order to deliver that success. I totally respect the tradition and history of the club. That is always going to be there, but we need to move with the times and this is progression. We are not disrespecting our fans at all, far from it. We are trying to make it affordable and put players on the pitch. We have exhausted all our other revenue streams” Derek Llambias defending Newcastle’s decision to re-name St James’s Park the Sports Direct Arena.

“Who in their right mind would steal the name St James’s Park from Newcastle, knowing that theirs would instantly become the least popular product on Tyneside and with football people across the land? Mike Ashley has clumsily made the purchase of naming rights for St James’s Park a poisonous concept” Martin Samuel, Daily Mail.

“It would have sent a shiver through Wapping when James Murdoch – questioned on the theme of the notorious edition on the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 ­ – did not blink when asked if he would shut down The Sun for ‘telling more lies’.  He said with chilling certainty:  ‘I would not rule out closing the paper if evidence of hacking was found there'” Norman Giller‘s weekly column on the latest select committee phone hacking hearing.

“After Singapore I would have given permission for someone to shoot me if I worked on another bid again but I had an urge to complete unfinished business. I owe everything to this sport. It defined me. This is the perfect story. We’ve got the Olympic Games in 2012, the world athletics championships in 2017 and world championships in virtually all other sports. It’s an extraordinary clean sweep for British sport” Lord Coe after London won the right to stage the world’s third biggest sporting event in 2017.

“I’ve always said that I want to retire after the 2016 Olympics but you never know. If I can do well at the London Olympics, then it would be awesome to retire after the London world championships” Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.

“Smokin’ Joe Frazier was the embodiment of what a great heavyweight champion and person should be. He was a gladiator. The courage he showed in Manila — answering every Ali onslaught with an equally withering response — will remain in the hearts and minds of boxing fans forever” Don King pays tribute to Frazier, who died last week of liver cancer.

“They have erected a statue in Philadelphia in honour of the city’s ‘most famous fighting son’. Ironically, it is not Joe Frazier, but Rocky Balboa, the celluloid creature created by Sylvester Stallone. My old friend Smokin’ Joe deserves a better epitaph than that” Alan Hubbard in the Independent on Sunday.

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