MUCH has been said over the weekend about the incidents in Birmingham ("Aston Villa footballer punched by fan on the pitch", The Herald, March 11) and Edinburgh ("Fan in pitch clash with Rangers star", The Herald, March 9), and in the days, weeks and months ahead much opinion will be offered in the columns of various news publications.

Both incidents are outrageous and beyond comprehension, even in the context of the violent past. But if either incident had occurred on our streets, the police and courts would have severely dealt with those involved.

However, fans are not the only ones that have to rein in their behaviour. The celebrations by Scott Brown in Edinburgh the week before, and Jack Grealish in Birmingham, go beyond anything that is safely acceptable, and Alfredo Morelos’s tongue-wagging feature is childish in the extreme.

Footballers' discipline is out of control. They refuse to take a free-kick from where the offence has occurred, refuse to take a throw-in from where the ball left the field, in spite of the fact that assistant referee is usually standing where the ball went out of play giving them a hint, and the behaviour in the penalty box at corners and free-kicks is more akin to watching a rugby maul.

But there is clear wording in the Laws of the Game regarding leaving or joining the pitch without the officials’ consent, and this too is being totally ignored and has the potential on each occasion to bring the game into disrepute and cause a riot. East Fife were recently deducted points for fielding an ineligible player – perhaps points deduction is a way forward.

Clubs (not taxpayers) need to pay more for policing the grounds and rooting out the trouble-makers. They get money from many sources, some of which could be spent on more and better surveillance instead of huge transfer fees and ridiculous salaries.

Like those that will follow me, I do not have a solution, but player discipline has got to form part of the discussion.

Francis Deigman,

12 Broomlands Way, Abbeyfield, Erskine.

THE worst aspect of the fan-on-player violence of the weekend was seen at Birmingham City’s ground. The fan, in this case, in cowardly fashion attacked the opposition star player from the back and could have done serious damage. I watched this on TV, barely believing my eyes.

I attended the Hibs-Rangers game on Friday night and was horrified to see the attack on the Rangers player. Most Hibs fans, as far as I could see, watched on in stunned silence as the culprit was led away.

The big difference between the two attacks was that in Birmingham, the culprit’s fellow fans applauded him as he was led away and he returned the applause by blowing kisses. What is happening to the game of football?

Alexander McKay,

8/7 New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.