The World Wide recession has hit us all hard. Since last year there have been thousands of job losses, house repossessions and families going hungry. Share prices are at record lows as the boom time of the late 90s and early 21st century has well and truly come to an end. But then again try telling that to the sporting world. Despite the rest of us pinching pennies and living on beans on toast the money that is being splashed around on players, wages and sponsorships could finance most third world countries.
UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) President, Michel Platini, has slammed the recent excess in soccer labeling Spanish giants Real Madrid and English Premier League clubs a disgrace for throwing astronomical amounts of money around on players wages and transfer fees. This came after Madrid spent $117 million to secure the services of Brazilian superstar Kaka and then a world record $163 million for Manchester Utd winger Ronaldo just a week later. Add to that that they have both signed long term deals reported be worth alomst $17 millon a year you have to wonder where all this money is coming from. French great Platini feels that it is just not fair “These transfers are a serious challenge to the idea of fair play and the concept of financial balance in our competitions,” he said. Platini is also worried that unless a cap or a fairer transfer system is put in place that a lot of the clubs will go bust because they are over capitalising just to compete.
But Soccer clubs are by no means the only culprits. In American Baseball, Basketball and NFL there is no such thing as a transfer fee as there is in soccer, so all the money goes directly in to the players paypacket. Madona’s toy boy and New York Yankee star Alex Rodriguez is reportedly earning $42 million a year and Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethilsberger is earning just shy of that at $41 million a year, while Australian basketballer Andrew Bogut scrapes by on just $13.8 million.
All of the sporting codes will argue that in these tough times people are heading to the sporting arena to see their heroes in action just to escape their reality. And that these heroes need paying for delighting their fans and putting their bodies on the line week in week out. The only problem that I see with that is most of the money that fills their pockets comes from the rip off ticket prices and expensive meat pies and watered down beer that the FANS have to fork out for week in and week out. This hardly seems fair to me.
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