SPORTS LETTERS

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Value for money?

From Mr A C Reid

Sir: Congratulations to England on their deserved winning of the Five Nations' Championship.

It is unfortunate then, that their achievement should be sullied by the bile spoken by Brian Moore following the match. His comments said more about his own sad weaknesses and the mental scars from 1990, than about the match itself. They did the image of rugby and English rugby in particular, considerable harm. Moore can at least walk without being lopsided - he has an enormous chip on both shoulders. Is it any wonder that most non- English rugby fans enjoy seeing England being beaten?

England appeared no more keen to run the ball than Scotland were, a point confirmed by Rob Andrew kicking two penalties close to the Scotland line, when the match was won.

The value for money provided by England for their supporters is poor. Does anyone want to pay upwards of £50 to watch 80 minutes of rolling mauls where the ball is hidden?

Yours,

ALISTAIR C REID

Auchterarder

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From Mr J G Brown

Sir: As usual the Independent on Friday last published details of major sporting events over the next seven days. There were details about the Cheltenham Festival including admission prices, Club £50, Tattersalls £20 and Fosters Enclosure £10.

I have just returned from Australia where on one Saturday I spent a very happy afternoon at Flemington Racecourse, the home of the Melboume Cup. The racing programme had eight races including a Group One race and a Group Two, the lowest first prize was the equivalent of £10,000. Admission for the races was $A5 (£2.50).

The facilities were excellent, bookmakers both inside and outside, superb catering facilities and a Tote with a minimum bet of 50p.

Now compare that with the costs and the facilities at Cheltenham. The Club and Tattersalls facilities are good, but the cost is horrendous. The Fosters Enclosure is a joke, a half-tarmaced open space with a shed for cover and if your are lucky you might just see the last two hurdles and fences.

Why should there be such tremendous differences between the facilities in the UK and those in Australia. The United Kingdom has a population about five times as great as Australia in an area about 5 per cent of the size. Of course the major difference in racing terms is that Down Under off course betting is through a Tote monopoly. The result of which is that more money is put into prize-money as well as into facilities. There is not the constant drain of profits into the big satchels of Ladbrokes, William Hills and the like.

Yours,

J G BROWN

North Petherton, Somerset

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From Mr J Cossins

Sir: If Saracens are promoted to the First Divisionof the Courage League, and Harlequins are relegated to the second, what is the likelihood of seeing the likes of Will Carling, Brian Moore and other "toffs" playing for Saracens at Southgate next season? Inspirational Horizons!

Yours,

JOHN COSSINS

Hadley Wood, Herts

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