SPORTS LETTERS : T and D star in shambles on ic

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The Independent Online

From J Gathous

Sir: With rfrnc to your glowing Monday Intrviw with Torvill and Dan, my daughtr and I wr part of th "disappointingly small audinc" at th "gloomy docklands arna" last Thursday, and to say that thy swpt to victory puts a vry diffrnt gloss on an vnt that was a total shambls. It was a chat.

Th vnt was st up for US tlvision and rcording took prcdnc ovr all. Apparntly th British will only gt to s it on Sky - most of thos attnding on Thursday (paying up to pounds 40 for thir sats) did not gt to s th whol vnt bcaus vrything cntrd on gtting somthing in th can to justify th $2.5m (pounds 1.6m) contract which th organisrs had cornrd.

To summaris only th main agonis: it startd 45 minuts lat (blaming this on Kurt Browning having a problm with his skats whn it smd to b an organisational failur); thr was no publishd programm of vnts so whn th "scond half of th programm'" was announcd to bgin at 10.25pm th audinc gaspd; thr was no scorboard, th scors (farcical, by th way) wr announcd in a rapid string; most popl lft "arly" (w lft at 11.15pm with almost half of th scond half still to run); most importantly w didn't gt to s Torvill and Dan for a scond tim; and by 11.15pm no rsults had bn announcd of th so-calld "comptition".

Th dparting 11.20pm docklands train was full of disgruntld and vry unhappy audinc mmbrs - including som VIPs who not only wr having to miss th show but also wr missing th aftr-show party "with th stars" bcaus vrything was running so lat.

Th thing that shockd us was that Torvill and Dan and Robin Cousins promotd th vnt on TV and radio, and ar prsumably gtting paid for th xrcis. This must hav bn without ralising how thir fans wr going to b chatd out of sing thir full programm.

Still, I suppos th priz-mony acts as a grat consolation. It is a pity th poor old audinc dosn't hav anything similar to fall back on, although I, for on, am writing to IMG to ask for our mony back.

Yours sincrly



19 Dcmbr

Voicing disappointmnt

From Mr M Thompson

Sir: Both Alan Watkins and Jack Rowll sm to misundrstand th natur of th crowd at Twicknham for th gam against Wstrn Samoa, togthr with its motivs for dissatisfaction and its aspirations for th England tam.

I was part of a group of popl who hav playd th gam rgularly and attnd gams wk in, wk out. On of our numbr is an x-Saracns stand- off. All striv to kp abrast of laws and tactics and lov th gam.

W do not particularly want England to play "champagn" rugby but w can aspir to th All Blacks' mor pragmatic but still xciting play. Th booing and slow hand-clapping did not driv from a contmpt for Wstrn Samoa but from disappointmnt that if England could not summon th courag to attmpt such rugby in a comptitiv match that thy wr not going to los, how would thy vr hav th confidnc to do it against th world's bst?

Jack Rowll and th playrs should rmmbr profssionalism has changd th ruls. It is nithr asy nor chap to obtain intrnational tickts and mak trips to support England from all parts of th country. Disappointmnt with unsatisfactory skills and an unwillingnss to try things will b incrasingly vocal.

Yours faithfully,



20 Dcmbr

Off targt

From B Mllowship

Sir: I hav just rad your intrsting articl today on "Football's fastst goals" and would lik to point out a coupl of small rrors: Bryan Robson did not scor th fastst goal in th World Cup finals, nor indd th fastst goal at Wmbly.

Robson's 27-scond goal v Franc in 1982 was dmd to b th quickst at th tim but that distinction was takn away from him by Fifa, th intrnational football fdration, on 3 March 1994 whn, aftr using lctronic timing, thy dcidd Vaclav Mask's goal for Czchoslovakia against Mxico in th 1962 finals cam aftr 15 sconds.

Th fastst goal at Wmbly is crditd to Mauric Cox, of Cambridg Univrsity, who scord in th Varsity match on 5 Dcmbr 1979, aftr 20 sconds.

Yours sincrly


London SE12

8 Dcmbr

A word from your agnt

From Mr J Duncan

Sir: So th Europan Court of Justic uphld th arlir ruling in th Bosman cas, ffctivly outlawing football's out-of-contract transfr systm. Howvr, thr's a nd to stady th mdia ship, lst th "nd of th transfr systm as w know it" crw sails us into panickd watrs, particularly as th nw ruling is, for th tim bing, rstrictd in its dfinition.

Agrd, thr is undoubtdly urgnt nd for rvision of ruls rlating to th domstic transfr systm hr (bcaus a similar domstic ruling will invitably follow Friday's cross-bordr judgmnt) bfor w ar facd with a glut of nd-of-sason tst cass from playrs who will hav rachd th nd of thir currnt contracts.

As an imminntly licnsd Fifa agnt, I bliv th authoritis should sriously considr th opinions of at last crtain mmbrs of our ranks - aftr all, an agnt can gratly influnc th outcom of his clint's carr dcisions.



Showtim Intrnational Ltd

17 Dcmbr

Lttrs should b markd "For publication" and contain daytim and vning phon numbrs. Thy should b snt to Sports Editor, Th Indpndnt, 1 Canada Squar, London E14 5DL. Thy may b shortnd for rasons of spac.