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Boris Johnson commented on the Super League faster than the unrest in Northern Ireland

·5-min read
<p>Fans respond to announcement of a European Super League with Manchester City scarves outside the Etihad Stadium on 20 April</p> (Getty Images)

Fans respond to announcement of a European Super League with Manchester City scarves outside the Etihad Stadium on 20 April

(Getty Images)

The speed at which Boris Johnson commented on the proposed European Super League, and arranged a meeting, is in sharp contrast to his reaction to the unrest in Northern Ireland. Surely the football authorities are capable of finding a solution? The prime minister should instead concentrate on the Brexit Border.

David Newman

Luton

Boycott football

Understandable outrage among football supporters and others has erupted over the proposal to form a European Super League. The answer is in the hands of the supporters. Boycott! Don’t attend matches or watch them on television (the advertisers would soon apply pressure) or purchase team merchandise. I realise that this is a big ask of loyal supporters but the cavalier way in which these supporters have been treated by the billionaire owners of the clubs must be answered by the only response that hurts them – in the pocket. It would not take long before the message got home that a club is nothing without the fanbase.

Patrick Cleary

Gloucestershire

Disenfranchised supporters

It was an inevitable consequence, as soon as rich people/organisations became involved in our football scene the game would change for the worse.

For decades major sports have become money-making circuses for the benefit of the owners of the “franchise”, just like the fast food and coffee industry.

The sports scene has become an entertainment opportunity instead of being a sporting event with professional athletes. The football teams, who want to play in the European Super League (ESL), are a product of the American model borne out of financial greed.

Fans who have supported British football, in particular, have been sorely betrayed by the six clubs that have joined this circus, all of which are owned by either rich entrepreneurs or countries. But their interest is solely in making money and usurping good governance at the cost of its fan base.

I doubt whether many players of these six British clubs will turn down the opportunity to play in the ESL because of contractual difficulties or a potential increase in their fees.

Benefits will not filter down to the lower leagues to improve the clubs. Why should the ESL give away money to support other competitive leagues? It doesn’t make sense to support a competitor.

The lifeline for the ESL is television rights. There will be hardcore supporters who will support their team but travelling to Europe, and further afield, will be expensive and time-consuming. So this action of joining the ESL will eventually disenfranchise supporters that live locally to Spurs, Arsenal, etc. Support for these teams will come from a worldwide fan base instead.

Additionally, it would mean that clubs can be situated anywhere in the world. They don’t have to be in London or Manchester. In my estimation, resentment will grow towards the clubs that join the ESL and the allegiance of the fans will be given to more local teams.

For all its faults the BBC gives fantastic service to football and other sports occasions at relatively low cost. I do hope that they will give scant service to the ESL if it actually is established.

Football and football fans have been sacrificed by the avarice of entrepreneurs driven by profit and power. The selfish action of a few greedy people will compromise established benefits of the game and eventually bring the wonderful game of football down to the level of hype and razzmatazz that is acceptable in other parts of the world.

The fans will be all the poorer, while the owners of the franchise will make vast amounts of money.

Keith Poole

Basingstoke

Poisoned chalice

The SNP's “hate crime bill” leaves the police with few ways of resisting pressure to investigate vexatious complaints. In fact, how police “discretion” is expected to operate in this confused and ambiguous area is far from clear. The inconsistency of similar “discretion” during lockdown does not hold out much hope of public understanding or cooperation.

I find Humza Yousaf’s claim of “strong safeguards” is far from reassuring. Convictions may be unlikely but the idea of the police entering one’s home to investigate a disgruntled child’s “tip-off” about dinner table conversation is deplored across the political spectrum.

Rev Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

Patient backlogs

With both NHS leaders and healthcare professionals highlighting new concern over the backlog of elective care procedures caused by the pandemic, NHS Providers’ chief executive Chris Hopson has rightly called for a “bold transformative approach” to how the NHS provides care.

But how bold, and how transformative, are NHS leaders willing to be?

Time and again, the narrative falls back to the need to “add” capacity – be that workforce or beds. Yet, there is evidence of inherent, latent capacity within existing healthcare systems and that by improving patient flow throughout, a hospital can unlock at least one ward of additional capacity per district general hospital in the NHS.

If the NHS could better optimise existing capacity, just consider the implications for patients, for Emergency Departments (ED), operational costs and, of course, staff morale.

As the daily struggle to balance demand and capacity in hospitals was magnified by the Covid-19 pandemic, managing this as efficiently as possible will be key to addressing the pent-up backlog. With the NHS waiting list at a 14-year record high of 4.7 million people, there must be a clear call-to-action followed by a swift sense of delivery to better support both patient outcomes and the wellbeing of frontline staff.

Now is the time for the NHS to truly embrace, scale and sustain opportunities for innovation; to change hospital bed utilisation models that have remained largely unchanged for decades. It is time to adopt, implement and invest in proven solutions that support capacity planning and patient flow efficiencies. We do not need more capacity; we just need to use the capacity we have better.

Neil Griffiths, managing director, TeleTracking UK

London

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