Sir, - Conventional wisdom says that Scotland, Ireland and Wales are each too small to host the soccer World Cup competition, but what if they were to put themselves forward jointly as a sort of single "Celtic Nation" to stage the 2006 series? Would it be a party, or what?

Precedents exist, in that the Rugby World Cup was hosted on one occasion by Australia and New Zealand, and the 2002 soccer competition will be jointly hosted by Korea and Japan. By next century Scotland should be able to provide five or six international class stadia, with Dublin and Cardiff able to provide the rest of the ten which will be needed. As least a token game should be played in Brittany, probably at Nantes.

The problem of who gets the automatic host place in the finals could be solved by all the countries entering the qualifying rounds, in the sporting assumption that at least two out of three will get there on merit. Journalists are fond of asking the question:

"Are our players really world class"? This letter is asking the same question about our football governing officials. - Yours, etc.,

Hilary Crescent, Ayr KA7 2JU,