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Are Footballers Overpaid? It’s Business for both Parties


‘Footballers are overpaid’- it is one of those statements that most football fans come to a solid consensus with. With football being double dipped into the business pool, Jamie Scrupps talks about how it is quite normal for footballers to get such enormous wages.

james


Now, before you all start ranting about how ridiculous that claim is and what could possess me to make such a statement, let me elaborate.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘How can you say that when a marine makes around 25k per year, while Wayne Rooney makes 300k per week?’ And let me be clear, I am by no means saying that footballers deserve to earn so much more money than the average man. What I’m saying is that they’re earning the right amount for their field. Let me explain.

Football is a business, pure and simple. Many people would like to think that footballers, managers and the directors are making decisions purely for the fans – and in an ideal world, they would be. But football has grown. Buying a player must make monetary sense for the people who are in charge of the finances at a club, otherwise the club will be heading in the wrong direction, and that’s a lot of extra money added into their Payroll Software for a player that won’t be much of an impact.

Let’s take the transfer of James Rodriguez from Monaco to Madrid. Some people would have looked at that transfer with confusion, and rightly so. Despite undeniable talent, the Columbian hadn’t exactly set the world alight before the 2014 World Cup; in Ligue 1 he got 7 goals and 11 assists in 33 games and while that isn’t bad, is it worth £70m? But he had an excellent World Cup and got all fans of the game talking about him. Due to the hype around him (and with Jorge Mendes as his agent) he took advantage of the situation by stating he’d like to play for Madrid. Madrid would have then looked at the situation and known that, despite the large sum of money they would have to pay for him, he would still be a hugely profitable player to have. This is for a number of reasons: just coming off a wonderful World Cup, a star in South America, good looking lad and he also has the ability to score spectacular goals. Madrid’s dream. But does he give as much to the team as Di Maria did? Short answer: no. It is an example of a club making an investment based on him being more marketable than Di Maria.

Now, getting back to the subject of wages, we should all be able to agree that football is as widely watch as any other form of entertainment, right? You would say that Messi and Ronaldo are about as famous as any sportsman could be. Because of how widely football is watched and loved world wide, it creates excellent advertising for companies, who will spend large amounts of money to put their name on anything related to clubs or players.

Players and their agents are well aware of how much money their clubs are making, and this allows them to be able to continue asking for more. It’s human nature – wouldn’t you want more money as you further your career and gain more responsibilities? What I think is especially unfair, is the accusation that footballers are ‘greedy’.

Let’s take Raheem Sterling’s situation at Liverpool. He is arguably Liverpool and England’s most important player right now, and at only 20, he easily has yet to hit his prime. Put these together, and you wonder how he only earns around 1/3 the salary of Daniel Sturridge. They are equally important to the squad, both England internationals, both yet to hit their peak, but one earns significantly higher. Answer yourself this: if you were in this type of situation at your job, what would you think of that? I definitely wouldn’t be happy. So of course Sterling has the right to request a new contract, and Liverpool are right to offer him one. Because, in 2, 3 or 4 years and if he keeps on with this rapid progression, you know that the likes of Madrid and Barca are going to start showing interest. The higher his wage, and the longer on his contract, the more money Liverpool will look to gain from a potential transfer. It makes BUSINESS sense. Some of you will think that ‘if Sterling loves the club, he should show loyalty and not demand such wages.’

But to those people I say get in the real world. You have one career. A professional football career lasts 15-20 years depending what type of player you are, and Sterling is going to start losing his pace in his late twenties. That means he has to maximize his income while he can, because we all know what happens when a footballers career finishes and he hasn’t got enough money to last him (think of anyone who is sponsored by odd companies).

Let’s also look at a different industry. Music. More specifically: One Direction. Now, they’re definitely not everyone’s favourite, but they and their record label obviously know which target audience is going to pay the most money, marketed themselves towards that audience and made millions out of it. And fair play to them. Football is no different, and that is why we see endless adverts with Ronaldo as the cover; because he has been marketed by Nike and Jorge Mendes and turned into a money making machine by just getting into the public eye for one reason or another.

Again, this isn’t greed. This is a player (and agent) fully utilizing his marketing potential, and rightly so. If you’ve got endless companies offering you x amount to just associate your name with their brand, it is only logical that you should exploit these situations as much as possible. If the money is there to be taken, I defy anyone not to grab it with two hands.

With all the money that gets pumped into football, wages are only going to get higher. The best players are going to demand the highest salaries and why wouldn’t they? Everybody wants to be rewarded for their qualities. As fans, there’s nothing we can do to change this, it’s something that everybody needs to get used to and stop obsessing about. According to a survey by Boston College, people with an average salary of $78m reported having anxiety over their financial well-being. On average, they reckoned they would feel better with a 25% increase on their salaries. If they’re not happy, why would footballers be?

So the next time a footballer gets a new contract with their wages tripled, ask yourself this question; would I say no to my salary being tripled?


Written by Jamie Scrupps

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