When the RFU’s acting Chief Executive, Martyn Thomas, sits down tomorrow to hear Mike Tindall’s appeal against his £25,000 fine, you wonder whether he will seek guidance from precedents set elsewhere.
He might find quite an original solution, if he looks to the Pacific Islands, where the Samoan coach, Matthew Vaea, was fined 100 pigs for his behaviour during the World Cup.
When I heard about the fine (the money, not the livestock) I wondered whether it was an overreaction to a situation that has already gone. All it has done is keep Tindall and the other English miscreants in the news.
The appeal now has the potential to lead to further farce within RFU ranks. Should Thomas decide to cut Tindall’s fine it will only serve to undermine Rob Andrew’s original decision. Agendas and power networks are all in play – rugby politics that go far beyond the actual offence.
If the English management thought his behaviour was so bad at the time action should have been taken there and then.
If we are going to take a moral or ethical stance, what is worse? Being the worse for wear due to alcohol or verbally abusing a female member of hotel staff to the point where she feels obliged to make a complaint.
Surely the latter is far worse? Yet, Tindall’s fine was five times higher than that of James Haskell and Chris Ashton.
A fine of 100 pigs may seem like a penalty from the dark ages, but the shame both to Samoa’s coach and his family will hurt far more. Whatever decision is reached, there will be no winners within English rugby.