Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

RFU made me scapegoat - Tindall

Mike Tindall

Mike Tindall has accused the Rugby Football Union of making him a "scapegoat" in a statement released through the Rugby Players Association

Tindall has was reinstated in England's elite player squad on Monday and had a £25,000 fine reduced to £15,000 following an appeal against the sanction given for his off-field behaviour at the World Cup which centred around his conduct at the Altitude bar in Queenstown, New Zealand.

But in a statement released by the RPA on Tuesday, he said: "I am deeply disappointed by the way the RFU has chosen to handle the situation. I have felt throughout the disciplinary process that my case was made unnecessarily political and public by the RFU and that I ended up being made a scapegoat."

He added: "Yesterday's decision goes some way to reflect a fairer assessment of what actually happened during the World Cup. It had been suggested that I intentionally misled people in relation to the events in Queenstown and I am pleased following this appeal process that it has been made clear that I did not do so.

"I feel somewhat vindicated by the decision to reinstate me back into the Elite Player Squad.

"While I accept the decision made by the disciplinary appeal panel last night I still maintain that the level of fine is not in line with other RFU disciplinary cases.

"I absolutely accept my share of responsibility for what happened in Queenstown and that I drank too much that night. It unfortunately created a level of media interest which was an unwanted distraction for myself, my team-mates, Martin Johnson and his staff. I can again only apologise unreservedly for this."

The initial sanction came after RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew and legal and governance director Karena Vleck heard evidence earlier this month about Tindall's conduct in Queenstown.

The behaviour of Tindall, who is married to the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, was described as unacceptable.

The 75 times-capped player was originally found to have misled England management in that he did not tell them he went to another bar in Queenstown.

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