Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Why shouldn't footballers get paid all that money - they're the ones earning it!

This morning I was listening idly to the radio when a discussion came on about Deloitte’s latest report on the finances on football. Now I don’t propose to go into a detailed discussion of the report but instead to take a glance at the reportage. And it will be no surprise that, a few seconds into any discussion, the matter of football payers’ wages comes up – usually accompanied by words like ‘excessive’ and ‘obscene’. The reports go like this one from the BBC:

“Soaring wages are threatening the stability of Premier League clubs, according to a report into football finances. The Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance found that clubs spent 67% of their revenues on player wages during the 2008/09.”

Now it seems to me that a business sector, where despite a deep recession worldwide, UK revenues have grown isn’t a business that we need to worry about qua business. What we should be concerned about is whether that big wage bill (not that dissimilar from many high value-added service businesses) compromises the viability in that the remaining 33% of revenues do not cover the other costs and especially the debt repayments. In reality, our problem is that we somehow feel it wrong for some chav to earn such a load of cash kicking a ball round a pitch for 90-odd minutes every Saturday. I mean it’s not fair is it!

We make up all this rubbish about players wages threatening the game’s viability when it’s nonsense. We just don’t like folk earning so much money especially when they squander it all on chunky jewellery, big (rather ugly) cars and other such indulgence. No class these football players, no class!

"Aha!” I hear you say. “The big wages just mean that competition is squeezed out of the Premiership – there’s only a few clubs that can win now because of the cash.”
Like that’s new – 31 out of the 50 league champions since 1960 have been one of Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal (and a further 11 come from Leeds, Everton and Chelsea). The English League has always been dominated by a few big clubs – there’s nothing changed from all the extra cash.

Overall English football is pretty healthy – some of the clubs have a problem and (like most of our economy) there’s rather too much debt. But paying the players loads of money is the right thing to do – you get the best players in England helping build club and premiership brands and somehow it seems right to me that the people who provide the entertainment, who make it possible for the game to earn billions get most of the money. Where else should it go? To the owners, to the directors?

1 comment:

The Whited Sepulchre said...

That is one issue that we don't understand very well in the U.S.
We generally favor limiting the earnings of CEO's and Wall Street raiders, but not NFL quarterbacks or Tom Cruise.

Go figure.