Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Football Ethics

Ethics scale

This may be sneered at by virtue of combining football and ethics in the same sentence, but the beautiful game is still beautiful, if a little bloated in its older age.



Many complaints are aimed at the current state of football with regards to its greed and lack of decorum amongst those who play the game professionally. Inevitably a lot of this is over-hyped, the game has evolved from the darker days of the 1970's and 80's when crowd attendances were low and the atmosphere could be intimidating.

The onset of the Premier League in 1992-93 has been like a double-edged sword though. Astronomical amounts of money have been poured into the game and new fanbases have developed. With this has come a more universal enjoyment of football than ever before, yet also an increasingly cynical and perhaps detached fanbase.

This is related to that which has invigorated football: money. Vast stockpiles of cash has been invested from TV revenue which has along with the Bosman ruling helped to drive up the wages of players and hence the prices for those wanting to watch the game. This domino effect has naturally led to the professionals that we support having become ever more detached from what actually keeps the game running in the end- the supporters.

Even more importantly the great revenue that is developed by the modern game is criminally top-heavy with regards to the finances of the top four divisions in the English league. Naturally the Premiership and Championship create greater revenue but the gulf is so far that development through the game to it's grass-roots are stifled.

The only realistic way for a club to ascend through the divisions now is usually through the aid of yet more money from an investor, for example with the rise of Wigan. In order to help level the playing fields there should be a compulsory wage cap. There can be no realistic way of explaining the need for a player to earn more than £80,000 per week. This figure would still be quite outrageous but then expecting uniform acceptance of such a wage structure without compromise would be naive.

Likewise the game needs to find ways of spreading TV revenue through the leagues in a fairer way in an attempt to develop the game from the grass-roots up. The big clubs would not be disadvantaged as they would still have their own massive revenues from merchandising and competitions such as the Champions League.


What football will ultimately not be able to afford is the pricing out of their own fans. People can be as cynical as they want when it comes to money in sport and football, but ultimately the last word is still with us as supporters, particularly when considering the current financial climate. In decades gone by football was an indulgence that could be maintained when times were hard, if prices continue to rise then the modern day equivalent could be forced to vote with their feet and stay at home.

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