Too much money is being spent in football – Liberal Article
Unfortunately, as a big Tottenham Hotspur fan, this subject is not very applicable to me. Spurs have spent their fair share here and there, but we will never match the high rollers. That being said, the effect of money being spent is felt by all football clubs in various leagues.
Money is a key factor in the football world. A great example of how money creates dominance in football is Manchester City – sorry City fans. In the ten years before they were bought by the Abu Dhabi Group (a UAE-based equity firmed backed by Sheikh bin Zayed Al Nahyan) in 2008, the club was not competitive. They fell down to the second division of English football, came back up and never cracked the top six. Since their financial takeover, they have not finished outside the top five; winning the league four times.
It would be foolish to say that their rise to stardom is not linked to the huge insertions of cash. Lots of money can achieve two things; acquiring top-tier players and developing great facilities. Without these two components, a club will struggle to be successful (especially in English football).
But when do we say enough is enough? Although there are financial fair play rules in place to limit the power of money, what about the moral rules? It is difficult to justify spending £50 million on a player when it could be spent elsewhere.
The top five football leagues in Europe (England, Spain, Germany, France, Italy) spent a record £5.5 billion in the summer transfer window in 2019. Of that five, the Premier League spent £1.41 billion, equating to almost 30%. If the money spent last year alone had been used to fight homelessness in the UK, already 7% of the costs to end homelessness in the UK would be covered. Assuming the Premier League spends at least the same, homelessness in the UK could be nullified in 13 years, 10 years earlier than Crisis.org.uk hopes to end it.
Although the sums spent within football are ludicrous, it is all relative. If Manchester United spends £100 million on a player, all that really happens is the money is shifted somewhere else. The club who received will spend it on other players, meaning that the money is simply being shifted around the world. The money spent on buying players stays within football. Even if they don’t use it to buy players, instead opting to fund a new stadium, it never leaves football, creating a little bubble.
Therefore, it is important to look at where and how the money leaves this bubble: contracts. The money that footballers keep in their pocket, after (hopefully) paying their tax, is when we see the true numbers. Cristiano Ronaldo earned £45 million in salary/winnings last year. Another superstar of the game, Lionel Messi, earned £72 million in salary/winnings. Although these footballers are some of the best in the world, they are earning incredibly high wages for what many would argue is kicking a ball around.
The financial impact of Covid-19 on the sporting world has not gone unnoticed. We are seeing contrasting outlooks by football clubs. Many members of staff are losing their jobs and being placed on the furlough scheme, yet clubs are still able to afford multi-million-pound deals.
I would like to see a downward trend in terms of prices paid for players, as well as their wages, to limit the impact on staff who are much more reliant on their paycheck.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Charlie Papamichael
Point of Information
Undoubtedly too much money, but with the way things are, the football players deserve their wage – A Conservative Response
Although I agree that the money in football is ridiculous, is it not possible that they deserve their wages? Yes, they make an extortionate amount of money, but they also contribute a significant amount to their club. Charlie’s article doesn’t even touch on how much these players earn their clubs year on year.
In 2016, two million Messi shirts were sold. If the profit on that is £40, that’s £80 million in shirt sales alone. That covers the cost of his wages and then some, every year. If they win La Liga, Barcelona earns roughly £150m. The Champions League, the winners can get as much as £82 million.
If you only account for shirt sales, winning La Liga and the Champions League, and assume that Messi has always earnt £72m (which he hasn’t), he has cost £1.15 billion but Barcelona in that time have earnt at least £3.1 billion. Although I admit these figures do not account for many other factors, one thing for sure – and these figures help prove it – is that however much Messi has earnt, his club has earnt significantly more because of him.
Does he not deserve to earn what he has? If this were a banker or another professional dealing with billion-pound cases and being rewarded for this, do we say the same? No, we don’t.
I do think football has gone too far and things need to change, however. A wage cap across all major international countries would be brilliant. Many Premier League football clubs continue to make a loss or sneak through the Financial Fair Play Regulation. In attempts to compete, we will eventually lose teams – for example, Bury this season. Introducing wage caps would stop this and the game could be more competitive. But we need to stop blaming the players and the clubs.
The players deserve their wage because of the amount they bring in. Wages are extremely high, but what they bring is at least ten times what they earn. The only way to change it is to reduce the amount of money on offer and impose wage caps, and this comes from the top.
Don’t blame the players or clubs, blame the game, or at least the ones who run it.
Written by Chief Conservative Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Yes, but what can we do about it? – A Labour Response
In short – yes, there is definitely too much money in football.
For me, it just doesn’t make sense. In what world does David Beckham need $1 million a week? Undoubtedly he was a great footballer, but does this warrant a paycheck of this size? I’m not convinced. With 10% of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 a day (2015), it is incredibly difficult to justify huge sums like this and the ones Charlie references in his article. There are much more pressing issues that need both our attention and money.
I am sure many people would agree. The amount of money in football is obscene. But what can we do about it?
Charlie’s point of it all being relative is certainly an interesting one to consider. While an optimist would hope that one team lowering their expenses would set a precedent in the sport, I think it’s more likely that other clubs would take advantage of this. This is a sad truth of the capitalist society we live in.
And let’s not forget that this debate does not only extend to football. What about major league hockey, baseball, and basketball players? Footballers wages are often no comparison to some of these. While I can appreciate the joy and entertainment of these sports, we definitely need to assess the extensively large paychecks and sponsorships within them.
I guess my only definitive conclusion is that this is an exceptionally onerous debate. I can’t answer how is best to move forward. But I do know that something needs to change. With many greater hardships in existence, it simply doesn’t make sense to be pouring so much money into a sport.
Written by Co-Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo