Why money could ruin football

One of the biggest talking points of football in the modern day is money. These talking points could be discussing a player’s wages, a player’s move to another club or simply the price of match day tickets. These talking points have be even more common since the recent move of Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving to PSG,  in a deal that could earn him around £7-11 million per season Whilst numerous football clubs go into administration like Rangers and Portsmouth and some become liquidated like Rushden & Diamonds, will money ruin football?

Owners of Manchester City

Owners of Manchester City

Firstly, the rising cost of a footballer’s wages. Samuel Eto’o (now playing for the Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala) is suggested to be being paid around £300,000 a week but there are still outrages wage packets for footballers close to home in the English premier league. One of these players being David Silva, who is considered to be earning around £200,000 per week at the Arab owned Manchester City. Going deeper into the hierarchy of English football and looking at lower league teams playing in League One and League Two, players will be lucky if they get into a four figure fee for their wages. These clubs would never be able to afford paying wages that would match any Premiership club whether it is rich Manchester City or newly promoted Reading. As the ‘bigger clubs’ in the lower leagues like Sheffield United or Bradford city rise their wage budgets due to their previous success it will never come anywhere near what higher teams in the hierarchy could pay. As human beings, it is human nature to desire money and if a rich team is interested in a player from the lower leagues, they can simple dangle money in front of the player that his team could never afford. This then means that good players from these lower teams will never be able to achieve anything, as the larger wage packets will attract their players.

Portsmouth FC is a club that found out just how high wage budgets could affect a club. Rather than them trying to fight off other clubs for their players, they simply had trouble paying them. In 2008 Portsmouth were victorious in winning the F.A cup beating Cardiff 1-0 in the final under the guidance of Harry Redknapp. This then lead them to attract players such as Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch, who they were able to pay higher wages because of the success. However because the money from the F.A cup success was a one off and not sustainable, this meant a few years later Portsmouth FC could simply not pay their wages anymore. This combined with some suspicious handling of the club lead to them going into administration and being a few days away from no longer being a football club. Again high wage budgets combined with suspicious handling of the club has led to teams like Rangers and Darlington going into administration and Rushden & Diamonds going into liquidation. One could only image what other club could fall victim to a high wage budget

Not only could money be ruining football but it could also be the downfall to English football. Christiano Ronaldo’s move from Man Utd to Real Madrid in 2009 for £80 million again documented just how much money is involved in modern day football. However with English clubs also spending big money on foreign players it is giving the younger home grown players less chance to experience and learn the beautiful game. Examples include United buying David de Gea for £17 million in 2011 and Chelsea splashing £30 million in 2006. Whilst rich owners fork out the money for these foreign stars to play in considerably the best league in the world it leaves younger and upcoming English players to either play in the clubs reserves or drop down the leagues. This means the fewer numbers in the premiership the quality of the English players slowly decline.

Football clubs can not only depend on rich owners putting money into the club for them to survive. They have to rely on fans to purchase match day tickets and to support the club by buying merchandise. However, with the rising wage packets this also means a rise in match day tickets. A recent survey conducted by the BBC (2011) showed that the cheapest match day ticket in the Premiership was at Wigan and cost £30. Even in League Two, a ticket at Bradford City would cost £20. With the current economic climate these prices could lead to smaller attendances and with the average cost of a football shirt being £40, it could lead to a decrease in merchandise sales. This will mean that not only will the average football fan not be able to attend matches, but also that clubs will lose income. This will inevitably lead to them going out of business.

With the amount of money that is being involved with modern day football there is certainly a case to suggest that money is slowly destroying football. With rich clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea, getting even richer it could spell disaster for smaller clubs in the form of either administration or liquidation.

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