I AM neither an attending football supporter nor am I in any way qualified in epidemiology, but perhaps I can help out with Graeme McGarry’s appeal for enlightenment on why the start of full attendance at football was delayed (Where is the method in call to delay crowd resumption?, Jan 14).

As I watch a member of our household climbing the walls with boredom and a firm belief that the world has turned against him and his fellow supporters, I do understand the frustration of fans who are keen to get back to the normality of unlimited crowds at stadiums. Like Graeme, he only seems to focus on the unfairness of the limits being imposed on him, probably to protect him and others from falling victim to a highly contagious infection which he probably believes his youthful, healthy and jabbed body will keep at bay.

READ MORE: What Scottish Covid restrictions are being lifted and when is FM's update?

Graeme asks for a clear and reasonable explanation for the end of the ban not having been introduced without delay – which surprises me as I have heard it so often in the First Minister’s responses to this very question on several occasions in parliament.

The safety of those attending is one thing (although if fans wish to put themselves and their families at risk, that is a matter for the conscience of those individuals) but the reason for delay goes beyond the “me, me” attitude of some of the supporters and indeed other financially interested parties in the sport and other business sectors.

Opening the doors to large numbers throughout the country affects public transport, police, ambulance service and hospitals, all of whom have been desperately struggling with serious numbers of absentees self-isolating or worse, as a result of the recent surge of infections.

A wee bit of understanding and patience is all that the government and its health advisers have been asking for in the hope that when the gates are opened wide, those vital services will be in a better position to deal with the situation. I hope that this qualifies as a clear and reasonable explanation as requested by Graeme.

As I said, I too will be so glad when I can scrape my family member off the wall and send him off to enjoy his sport again but please do remember, it is not all about football supporters.

Angus J Stewart
South Queensferry

ANDY Murray’s decision to decline an invitation to play an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia should be commended by those who value human rights and dignity above the avaricious pursuit of wealth. Whilst high-profile golfers like Bryson De Chambeau and Shane Lowry and boxers like Anthony Joshua have all participated in events held in Saudi Arabia, Andy has placed human rights and values above financial gain.

In 2018 his fellow tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both accepted an invitation to play in Saudi that was postponed only when the Spaniard suffered an injury. Like the disgraceful decision by the Spanish Football Federation to play its Super Cup in Saudi at present, the overwhelming motive of these sporting individuals and groups is the acquisition of mammon regardless of the brutality of the regime involved.

READ MORE: Andy Murray rejected massive payday over human rights concerns

The autocratic Saudi regime’s human rights record is truly deplorable, including public beheadings, legalised state torturing and religious discrimination. The UK Government, unsurprisingly, continues to sell weaponry and expertise to them as they carry on their merciless bombing of civilian populations in the Yemen. Predictably, hypocritical members of the government such as Raab and Truss are wheeled out regularly to condemn Saudi actions, safe in the knowledge that Mohammed bin Salman and his cronies will recognise that, just as Thatcher’s government did with the policy of Apartheid in South Africa, they must pay lip-service to his crimes against humanity for appearance’s sakes.

Andy Murray’s moral stance has placed common decency and unalienable human rights above personal aggrandisement and his commitment to the sanctity of human life should shame many of his fellow sports stars as well as governments around the world.

Owen Kelly

DAVID Roche’s timely letter on National Anthems for Scotland (Jan 13) revived memories of the late Frank Muir (a “Kentish Lad” with a great sense of humour).

He recalled a radio broadcast of the wonderful Polish Army Choir’s tour of Scotland. After a beautiful rendering of the Eriskay Love Lilt, the Choirmaster announced “And now an old Harry Lauder favourite: ‘Will you Stop Tickling your Jock!”

Perhaps Mr Roche had more than one reason for eliminating this song as a contender.

James Stevenson

PAGE 10 of Friday’s National carried two pieces by Gregor Young: “Scots sports share £2.55m of funding from government” and “Scottish offshore WING growth at risk from rising transmission costs.”

Could it be that Gregor’s mind was still in sport mode?

Barry Stewart