How can we, as a society, justify the huge wages of todays football stars? Ninety minutes of playing a game that is their passion, rewarded by many tens of thousands of Pounds or Euros. Has the game reached a cut off point, or is there still more room to smash transfer records and pay structures? The fact that people keep talking about this topic puzzles me. Yes we know that large amounts of cash, much of it borrowed, is given to players and agents. The problem I have with making too big a deal out of this is, the same thing happens in many other businesses. Why should football be any different. Those who refuse to accept the game is now a multi billion, if not billion, pound industry, are at best naive. I appreciate we, as a society, do read about bankers, or other large corporate big wigs, earning massive salaries. These stories seldom carry on for a few days. Footballers salaries refuses to leave the psyche of the population. Why is this?
One obvious reason for the constant focus on salaries is that there are two transfer windows, (in Europe), which guarantees wages will be talked about a lot for maybe three months a year. This doesn’t explain how we will moan less as a society about a pop star earning a fortune when they release their two albums a year , and rake in the millions. Because of all the transfer window speculation and press reports we find out about footballers wealth, but this doesn’t explain why we pick these guys out more than any other performers in the entertainment industry. A rock star can party and still be able to earn their millions, but a footballer must not have a blemish on his personal record to justify his earnings? That seems a little unfair
There is clearly envy, from the fans who splash the money out in the first place to watch these footballing superstars. It cannot be easy to break the bank to watch players earning more in a week than they would in a decade sometimes. It becomes harder to stomoch if the club is not financially sound, and becomes heavily indebted to fund the players that it has. How is this the players fault? They have no control over what fans earn. If clubs want to go bust to pay them massive contracts, surely it is the clubs poor management, not the players wish for financial reward. If clubs were not so greedy and polarising, they could all establish a wage cap that would run accross the board, allowing all clubs to afford players without the risk of going bankrupt. The fact they do not do this says to me that they clearly do not want to stop paying the money in the first place.
We seem as a society to envy footballers more than other entertainers for two reasons, in my opinion. Firstly footballers have only been amongst the big earners and celebrity gossip pages, for maybe twenty years. So it is new, and unuaual for a lot of fans who still remember when footballers earned a lot less. Change is never easy to accept. Secondly there is a snobbery, I think, against a footballer earning a lot of money, whilst a rock star, or panel judge is entitled to their pay, as they are maybe more talented. This clearly is wrong. There are many footballers who are more talented at what they do, than many musicians or writers are at what they do. We just don’t like footballers, who to us are always supposed to be working class, earning the sort of money that others do in the entertainment industry. To me this is silly, and also unlikely to change anything.