Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Premiership soccer gone mad

You think you Yanks are crazy.

The situation in the English Premier League has gone super crazy. Previously middle of the road club Manchester City (the other Manchester club!) have been bought by some disgustingly rich Arabs and have now announced they intend on buying up all the worlds best players, and Ronaldo.

Whilst this is riotously funny, it is also a little scary.
''Manchester City's new billionaire owners are planning a world-record £135m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer window before turning their sights to, among others, Fernando Torres of Liverpool and Cesc Fábregas of Arsenal.''
I have been arguing like a crazy, senile old guy for years that the Premiership needs to invoke a salary cap rule, akin to the best run, most successful league in the world the NFL, in order to ensure it doesn't eat itself alive through greed. Maybe now these crazy billionaire new owners at Manchester City will force the leagues hand.

If this trend continues, the smaller clubs in the lower divisions will simply fold one by one as the rich get richer, until there are just a handful of successful clubs that win everything in sight and parity is a thing of the past.

Call me crazy, however I would wonder if Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim really has the better interest of Manchester City at heart?

This new crowd make Chelsea's Roman Abramovich look genuine.


1 comment:

emmet said...

Salary caps are quite shaky in the eyes of European law. The only ones where they are in place in Europe are in leagues where the teams wouldn't argue and indeed had a consensus in favour, so they haven't been tested substantially in court.

Even if the legal hurdle can be overcome the international dimension of soccer, with several leagues with a lot of people willing to spend silly money, has to be taken into account. If the Premiership imposed a cap of any kind leagues like Italy and Spain, and perhaps even Germany which has been in a funk lately, would have people willing to make moves to buy out the best talent thus weakening the league as whole and its potential value in the global market.

This perpetuates the irrational economic philosophy that exists in the sport. Outside of England and Germany there is no top flight division in soccer where the average attendance is over 30,000 per game.

This includes Italy and Spain who both, the former in particular, have seen investors go mental. The financial problems that have plagued Italian clubs make the Premiership look tame.

In the end the competition ends up proving costly to everyone. Unfortunately the easiest solution to the problem is wholly unethical.

If the four major leagues alluded to operated in unison to maintain a more balanced level of spending then this might work to everyone's advantage. For this to have any real impact however the leagues would essentially need to operate as a cartel, and it's fair to say that this isn't exactly going to benefit the customers aka fans either.

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