A distorted playing field is to blame

Well, it looks like the chickens have come home to roost for some football clubs.

Portsmouth, once a Premier League club, is facing extinction, Rangers in Scotland is in administration, Port Vale are going into administration and Coventry and Birmingham have been hit with transfer embargoes.

There are 14 former League clubs now in the Conference – ie non league.

One of them, Luton Town, was a Division One club in the 1980s. Chester City are in the Evo-stik League...the list goes on.

For far too long, clubs have got away with living beyond their means in the quest to please their fans and reach the holy grail of the Premier League or the Championship.

The real culprit is Sky TV. They care nothing for lower league clubs, they only want the likes of the top six Premier League clubs on their screens.

Without Sky, clubs wouldn’t be able to pay vast fortunes to players with no more than average ability, which would then have the effect of it being more of a level playing field.

Until Sky is stripped of its near monopoly of football, in particular the Premier League, football will witness more clubs becoming either part time, or extinct.

MC, via emai

Scots need a flexible choice

If any referendum on Scotland’s future is to accurately represent the views of the Scottish people, it must offer a real choice. It is clear that independence, or the status quo, cannot be the only things on the menu.

Avoiding a ‘second question’ represents a false choice. It risks not giving the Scottish people the choice of a future, which polling shows many of them can unite around .

We urge all parties to work to present clear choices to the voters. Scots will then be able to vote for the status quo, or change.

They will then have the opportunity to decide on the flavour of change that works for them.

Our experience with the Alternative Vote referendum suggests a lengthy lead in time.

To that end, we support the Scottish Government’s proposal of an autumn 2014 ballot.

Willie Sullivan, Electoral Reform Society

What’s sauce for the goose...

We are urging tourists to stay away from the Lake District this year in protest against the proposed mass cull of Canada geese on Windermere.

The killing of 200 birds on their nests this spring – and hundreds more in coming years – is also opposed by the RSPCA.

Local bird experts and campaigners say the killing will be a bloodbath.

Despite making claims that the birds cause pollution and decimate grassland, the local authority has admitted that “Windermere has had no specific studies regarding the effects of Canada geese on local habitat”.

The authority has not sought the advice from humane deterrence experts, and is determined to pursue a cull. Anyone who opposes the killing of these majestic birds should vote with their wallets and book a holiday elsewhere.

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns, Animal Aid