Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Should Footballers Be Paid So Much?


VIDEO: http://bit.ly/XHuBp8

It's debate that's been steaming up in recent years; mostly by the activity of clubs such as Real Madrid, who spent a record-breaking £85 million to purchase Welshman Gareth Bale, along with a rumoured £300,000 a week pay package. Should footballers be paid such huge amounts?

Huge investment in the last decade or so into the beautiful game has launched this debate- kickstarted here in England by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, whose 140 million pound takeover of Chelsea FC in 2003 sent shockwaves throughout world football- it was the first major introduction of big, big money into the sport.

According to the Professional Footballers' Association, in the 1950s an England player at the height of his game would have earned today's equivalent of £75,000 a year- a good wage by today's standards (in nominal terms, disregarding inflation and other changes)- that of a doctor or medium-scale manager perhaps.

Today, however, the story is very different. Money is being thrown about by the oligarchs, sheikhs and other billionaire owners of today's big clubs. Abramovich was rumoured to have lured Eden Hazard to Chelsea through a phone call, saying "I don't know what your wage is, but I'll triple it.".

This is simply an example of market activity- supply and demand. Numerous world class clubs other than Chelsea were after the young Belgian attacker- driving up his market price, to the point that he is being paid roughly £180,000. His sale was similar to that of an auction- Manchester United and Manchester City had been put in pole position to sign him, but the tables turned when Chelsea trumped their bids for him- paying £32million.

This attitude that skill and therefore success can be bought, and the strengthening of the impact of supply and demand this has caused in football have led to huge changes in the wages of footballers.

The average wage of Manchester City this year, the highest in the world, was £102,653. Not a year. Not a month. But per week. That's roughly £5.4 million.

Much has been made of such astronomical figures.

In a time of economic trouble and wage stagnation that has recently hit hard most of the population, footballers have been criticised for their huge multi-million salaries, 'all for kicking a ball around'. Middle and lower class wages have stagnated, whereas that of footballers has rocketed in the past decade.
While this certainly is an issue of justice, particularly in nations such as Spain where the employment rate has recently hit 26%, is a curbing of football wages the best way to correct this?

£2.3 million of income tax per Manchester City player (almost £60m altogether from the regular 25-man squad) will have entered the tax pot in the past year- and while this is not an earthshaking contribution (£105 billion was spent on the NHS in 2012/13), it is by no means useless- the tax from Manchester City players' wages alone is a fifth of the Somerset County Council's budget.

So footballers' salaries do actually have an effect on government public spending- though Manchester City alone may not have caused any particular bumps in the government spreadsheets, consider that there are 20 teams in England who pay wages of a similar (slightly lower) amount.
This is undoubtedly a positive contribution- these contributions of tax are certainly high enough in aggregate to maintain public spending in certain areas, in particular areas such as local government noted above.

We must remember one aspect of this debate- the money used to pay footballers is by no means coming without choice from the regular taxpayer. If you want to contribute to footballers' wages you buy a shirt, you buy a ticket to a game- but still, the majority of money for the wages comes from  the wealthy benefactor that is the owner- be is Roman Abramovich, or Sheikh Mansour, the owner of Manchester City.

Footballers' wages are therefore in fact a very effective way in which to funnel money from the wealthy billionaires of the world- it is unlikely that Abramovich, Mansour and the numerous foreign owners of clubs in the Premier League would invest so many millions in Britain if something the scale of the Premier League was not in place. Roman Abramovich has invested over £1 billion on his beloved Chelsea- much of which has been spent on footballers' wages- and certainly much of which has gone into the tax pot to contribute to public spending.


SOURCES:

PFA on past wages http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/8265851/How-footballers-wages-have-changed-over-the-years-in-numbers.html

Manchester City wages http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2604978/Manchester-City-global-sports-salary-list-ahead-New-York-Yankees-Los-Angeles-Dodgers-Chelsea-Arsenal-Liverpool-Manchester-United.html

Spanish unemployment rate http://www.tradingeconomics.com/spain/unemployment-rate

NHS Spending http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/key-statistics-on-the-nhs

Somerset County Council Budget (£327.9m) can be found on their 2012/13 Statement of Accounts.

Roman Abramovich spending on Chelsea http://www.standard.co.uk/news/1-billion-cost-of-roman-abramovichs-chelsea-empire-6390456.html
Mohammad Lone Editor