LETTER : Cantona's service to Salford

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The Independent Online
From Ms Beverley Thompson

Sir: Your editorial (19 April) "An own goal for Cantona?" is right not only in endorsing community service as a more appropriate penalty than prison for the errant footballer, but also in its support for the kind of work involved.

Nacro has a particular interest in this case. Our Salford Youth Activities Unit runs a football project which has been allocated 40 hours of Cantona's time. The Salford Football Community Link project helps low-income communities set up junior football clubs which are run by local volunteers. Resources are always limited and for us, Eric Cantona is a priceless resource.

Making reparation is the essence of community service and this is what teaching soccer skills for 120 hours to youngsters from inner-city areas of Salford will achieve. It is demanding and timeconsuming and carries with it attendant publicity that must act as a constant reminder of the original offence.

More than that, however, by offering coaching opportunities to young people from less affluent communities - yesterday's team came from an estate with no facilities, "not even a playground" according to their coach - Cantona is giving something uniquely valuable and exciting and an experience that will long be remembered.

Yours faithfully,



Prison, Resettlement, Race

and Training Services


London, SW9

19 April