It is the hooligans who bring football into disrepute, not Cantona : LE TTERS

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The Independent Online
From Ms Andrea Horth Sir: The Football Association has over-reacted to the recent incident between Eric Cantona and the abusive fan ("Cantona may not play in England again", 27 January). Some football supporters seem to think that their ticket price includes the right to hurl obscenities at the players with impunity. For once, a heckler was rewarded for his efforts. No doubt he's made a great deal more, by exposing the stud marks on his chest and peddling his story to the tabloids.

The FA seems unwilling, or unable, to ensure tolerable working conditions for its players, who must endure vicious racial and personal attacks. If the organisation that profits so handsomely from these young men's talent shows such a lack of concern for their well-being, it is inevitable that players will take matters into their own hands.

Each one of us has a breaking point. Provoked by violent taunts while upset and emotional, Cantona reacted with unacceptable violence. This is a serious incident and he should be penalised for it. But to consider ending his career is absurd. The real offence that has been committed here is that a gifted athlete, driven past the point of endurance, has been forced to choose between his passion for football and his self-respect. Football is in disrepute, and it is not Eric Cantona's doing.

Yours faithfully, Andrea Horth London, N16

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