Letter: Balkan problems

Sir: Weep not that Newcastle United lost against Partizan Belgrade. Weep rather that they played the game at all in the aftermath of the discovery of babies in Kosovo with bullets in their heads and their throats cut.

Was there no one in the Newcastle squad - manager or player - with the good old-fashioned English working man's spirit and good judgement to say, "I choose to withdraw my labour rather than give comfort to the people of a country involved in a monstrous tyranny"?

Sadly, it seems that football has become an idolatrous passion presided over by millionaire managers and players paid at a rate far beyond the wildest dreams of the fans.

Nevertheless I dare to say that Newcastle has this day suffered the double shame of a bruising defeat and of letting our country down.

Not to have played against the Partizans of Belgrade would have sent the most powerful message possible to the Serbian people that the cruel conduct of their government is unacceptable.

RICHARD HAYES

London EC3

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