Walker escapes punishment
England defender Kyle Walker will not face any disciplinary action after he was pictured inhaling nitrous oxide, a substance commonly known as laughing gas, on a night out during the offseason. Images published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper appeared to show the Tottenham rightback sucking the gas through a balloon in a nightclub. Nitrous oxide is not illegal, but can cause long-term health damage. Walker apologized on Twitter on Sunday, saying: “Now I know the health risks, it was poor judgement on my part.” The Football Association (FA) said on Monday that it had spoken to Walker about the matter, which took place in June, and that “he has assured us it will not happen again.” “Inhaling nitrous oxide is not illegal, but we recognize the associated dangers,” the FA said in a statement. “Kyle has accepted this mistake. He will not face any action under the England Player Code of Conduct.”
Biting ban overturned
A player in South Africa has had his seven-game ban for biting overturned on appeal by arguing he had his mouth open when scoring a try and his teeth sank into an opponent’s arm accidentally. Australian Rory Arnold, who plays lock for Griquas in the domestic Currie Cup, was cleared on Monday by a disciplinary committee and can continue playing immediately. He was sent off in the Aug. 31 game after a television review because Cheetahs hooker Ethienne Reynecke showed bite marks on his arm to the referee. Arnold successfully argued that he had his mouth open when he dived over to score the second-half try and the committee found it was possible that downward pressure on his head from a tackle forced his teeth into Reynecke’s arm.
Carroll injures foot again
West Ham United striker Andy Carroll has re-injured his right foot after returning to training, the Premier League club said on Monday. “Although it is in the same part of his foot as his previous injury, it is a new injury and therefore there will be no prognosis until he has seen a specialist,” West Ham said in a statement on their Web site. The 24-year-old England forward, signed for ￡15 million (US$23.6 million) from Liverpool on a permanent transfer in June after spending a year on-loan at the London club, has not played this season.
Smith and Steyn return
Graeme Smith was named in South Africa’s Test and one-day squads yesterday for the series against Pakistan next month even though the opening batsman has not fully recovered from ankle surgery. Head selector Andrew Hudson said team management “should have a definite picture” of Smith’s recovery in the next two weeks after South Africa’s Test captain had pins inserted to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle in May and missed the Champions Trophy and the Proteas’ limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka. Fast bowler Dale Steyn returned to both squads alongside Smith after he also missed the trip to Sri Lanka in July and last month with injury. All-rounder Jacques Kallis was again left out of the ODI squad having chosen not to play at the Champions Trophy for personal reasons, and South Africa will continue to manage the limited-overs workload of Kallis, who will turn 38 next month during the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.