AS Scotland crash out of yet another World Cup qualifying campaign, it is noteworthy to reflect that viewers of our national team are not able to watch their country play crucial qualifying matches on terrestrial TV.

There can be few countries in the world where fans are left to watch their neighbouring nation, England, in Scotland’s case, play on terrestrial TV, while they are forced to watch their own country’s team play on subscription-based TV. While Scotland managed a last-gasp win over Slovakia, Scots viewers were left sampling the delights of England v Slovenia on STV.

More and more sport is sadly moving to subscription-based TV channels. The BBC lost rights to show the Open golf to Sky and fans wanting to watch European football have to tune into BT Sport for the Champions League and the Europa League.

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It’s understandable that the SFA will want to do a deal with the highest bidder, but considering England qualifiers are shown for free on ITV, there’s no reason why Scotland games can’t be shown on one or more terrestrial channel.

We want children in Scotland to be inspired by the athletes they see on TV, and a deal for future qualification matches on terrestrial TV could help us produce the next stars of the future. At very least, it’ll encourage more children to go outside, kick a ball and play with friends, maybe leading to us qualifying for a tournament in the future.

Alex Orr
Edinburgh

I AM glad to see that the EU has suggested, as a solution to the problem of their border with Northern Ireland, that Ulster could remain part of both the single market and the UK. This would allow the Common Travel Area Agreement to continue unchanged, thus facilitating travel and trade throughout all the British Isles. Sad, however, that there is no glimmer of light on this issue from the British side of negotiations.

One understands why the Irish issue is being given such attention by the EU. But why, I wonder, is no-one interested in poor old Gibraltar, which is in much the same situation as Ulster.

Spain has suggested possible joint sovereignty in Gibraltar to ease the Brexit border problems there. However, this was greeted with threats of war by Michael Howard, former UK Prime Minister! So I suspect Gibraltar will join Scottish fishing rights as a last-ditch bargaining chip. That is, if the negotiations ever reach a serious stage.

Peter Craigie
Edinburgh

I AM aghast (it happens a lot these days) with the tone of many Tory commentators regarding Brexit. It’s as if they think all they have to do is teach “johnny foreigner” a lesson and he’ll behave. Speak severely to ‘em. Crack the whip at the EU negotiations. Let the British lion roar (!) OK, I reckon that might possibly beat the off-putting grinning and gurning of David Davis but don’t they get it? Don’t they realise that Brexit has relegated the UK to the status of third world/low-grade country? Don’t they realise? Why don’t they realise? Are they mad?

Amanda Baker
Edinburgh

GEORGE Kerevan dodges Tommy Sheppard’s misguided aim to wait for the 2021 election for the independence referendum with his article, Use it or lose it: We need to hold Indyref2 before next Holyrood election (The National, October 9).

I love it, his article is strong and focused but he dodges the Sheppard bullet, then fires one into his own foot with the suggestion that the referendum should include a question on the performance of May’s government’s handling of Brexit, before asking about Scotland’s freedom to decide its future for itself.

Equal benefit would be gained by asking about Strictly or Bake Off – all three are completely irrelevant at the moment of choosing independence for our country!

A single question will do George: “Should Scotland be a country free to govern itself like the other 53 that broke away from the Westminster death grip, including the USA? Well, something like that but shorter perhaps. “Should Scotland be a country free to govern itself?”

Christopher Bruce
Taynuilt