THE ire expressed in relation to the proposed European Football Super League is no doubt real but still naïve.

However, as Leeds manager, Marcelo Bielsa has pointed out, “I am not surprised … in all walks of life the powerful always look after their own backs”.

Looked at it this way, the proposal is no surprise, and is in some ways the completion of a project that began as far back as 1992 when the English Premier League was established by 20 clubs leaving the English Football League to be “administered” by the Football Association, just when television money was about to go through the roof.

Was setting up their own League and corralling all that TV cash not “leaving other clubs behind” in much the same way?

Likewise, the Champions League, where TV money is distributed not just according to sporting success but the size of a club’s domestic TV market as well.

Thus, a club from the bigger TV market is paid more even if it loses to a club from a small country. So, is it surprising that in this year’s round of 16 only one club (Porto) were not from of the ‘big five’ leagues (England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy), especially in a sport where money doesn’t so much talk as roar?

Ally this to an increasing number of spaces in the competition being “reserved” for the bigger countries, and their “success” is easily understood in relation to the distribution of resources.

Of course, the football authorities will point out that places are allocated according to a country’s coefficient, but when the data used has already been compromised, as above, how much can we take from this? Is it a measure of sporting success, or confirmation of the current distribution of resources?

Thus, the European Super League is simply the logical conclusion of a process that began with the big English clubs running off with the TV money, passing through a competition that has been increasingly focused on keeping the biggest club happy, and has now arrived at its ending.

Whether or not the present proposal will succeed, it is a portent of what is to come, for it has been coming for 30 years now.

In some ways the interesting question is not what the biggest clubs will do next, but how the clubs at the levels below will respond to the challenge they have been set.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

R. MONAGHAN (letters, April 20) asks how clubs participating in the proposed football Super League can put out their best teams for both midweek and weekend fixtures. One answer is that they would not have to.

On Monday evening Leeds United played Liverpool, with the latter desperate for points to enable qualification for competition in Europe.

With Liverpool’s place in the proposed greed-based league being guaranteed, last night’s match would have been meaningless and Liverpool could have fielded a team of reserves.

Who would want to watch?

David Miller, Milngavie.


THE justified anger at the proposed breakaway by elite football clubs risks overshadowing an even more egregious outrage actively being considered for Scottish football.

These are proposals made jointly by Rangers and Celtic to run their B teams in the Scottish League Two, in exchange for a modest cash injection to the other member clubs.

At a time when a full meritocratic football pyramid, top to bottom, is almost in place, this idea is almost universally rejected by all lower-league club fans. The distortion of competition, let alone the contamination of community connections, is unacceptable so I would be boycotting any games involving the Old Firm reserves.

If the large clubs want to ensure competition for their overlarge squads, let them restart a reserve league. This model may be familiar in certain European lower leagues and even, shamefully, in the Challenge Cup here. But it is a step too far right here on our doorstep.

Allen Armstrong, Buckhaven, Fife.


THE study published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation (“Quality state schools ‘can phase out’ private rivals, April 20) raises once again the question of private versus state education in our society.

The suggestion by the authors that high-quality state sector education ought to be able to replace the private sector has merit, but the response from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) is itself worthy of note, if for no other reason than the lack of depth of argument that that organisation offers.

To declare that their strength lies in their focus on individual learners and extra-curricular activity seems faint self-praise that is entirely open to challenge by comparison with any of the better-performing state sector establishments.

But then SCIS goes on to claim that access has been widened “through schemes including mandatory, means-tested fee assistance”; the latter added, one suspects, lest they should be justifiably challenged yet again on their charitable status.

Taken together, however, their arguments really add up to very little, and represent a poor advertisement for private sector education. One wonders: Is this all they have to offer?

But of course it is not all they have to offer. We need look no further than the headlines that have held the front pages for some weeks now regarding the David Cameron connection with Greensill for the unspoken agenda of the private-sector education system: the “chumocracy” that reaches its peak at Westminster.

That represents the ultimate goal of the private sector, the foundation of networks that allow like-minded individuals, regardless of their personal abilities or merits, to prosper through simply having access to the right people who are in a position to assist them in their careers and their business ventures.

Gerald Seenan, Skelmorlie.


ON Monday morning I was listening to BBC Radio Scotland when an elderly gentleman named Jimmy expressed his concern about what would happen to his pension if Scotland became independent. This was one of the issues raised in 2014 by Project Fear, knowing that it could influence senior citizens to vote No.

There is no fear of anyone losing their UK pension rights if Scotland becomes independent. The rest of the UK, as the continuing state, are legally bound to continue the payments to pensioners who have, by way of their National Insurance contributions over their working lives, acquired the right to a British State Pension.

There are plenty of UK pensioners today living outside of the UK currently receiving their pensions, no matter their current country of residence.

Kaye Adams, if she was doing her job correctly, should have allayed Jimmy’s fears. Hopefully another listener will have called later in the show to put Jimmy straight with this issue.

Ernest Wastell, Meigle, Perthshire.


IT seems reasonable to ask how committed the Scottish Tories are to the election and, indeed, to the Scottish Parliament.

Their nominal leader, Douglas Ross, plans to fit leading the party around his day and night jobs. Holyrood, it seems, will receive his attention if he’s not warming the green benches of the Commons or running the line in Brechin or Bratislava.

His minder, Ruth Davidson, isn’t even standing for election. Apparently, she’s leaving Holyrood to spend more time with her family, presumably by Zoom from London.

Meanwhile, their boss, Boris Johnson, has concluded the devolved Parliament has been a “disaster” and therefore, one can assume, it isn’t at the top of his list of priorities.

There is a serious point here. The governance of Scotland deserves better than this and the electors have a right to expect that parties and MSPs will treat it with respect and focus.

The leaders of the other Unionist parties, Anas Sarwar and Willie Rennie, may have their faults but a lack of commitment isn’t one of them.

Bill Calder, Galashiels.


FULL marks to Anas Sarwar for clarifying Scottish Labour’s unequivocal opposition to a second independence referendum.

The position is very simple: the party opposes independence and the referendum that would enable independence at the forthcoming election, and will do so at every election thereafter until its members decide otherwise.

Peter A. Russell, Jordanhill.


I WAS touched by Irish President Michael D. Higgins ordering the Irish tricolour on his official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, to be lowered to half-mast to mark the funeral of Prince Philip.

Sadly, his noble gesture was inevitably followed by a social-media storm from extreme Irish nationalists. If, 99 years after independence, certain elements in Ireland won’t let go of their hatred of all things British, is it likely that extreme Scottish nationalists would ever do so either?

Penny Ponders, Edinburgh.