Kaya Derin Ozkan
Football, the “beautiful game” as Pele called it, is officially dead. The passionate fans that filled stadiums 2 years ago have been replaced by groups of businessmen investing and betting. As player prices rise, as corporate greed rises so does the price of a seat in a stadium. Fans work hard, day and night and at the end of the week all they want is to take their kids to their favorite teams stadium and watch a game. Yet, now due to the sudden increase in ticket prices fans can no longer watch their favorite games, and this is due to the increase of the price of the players and the higher wage demands of the players.
The players, the one’s people watch with such love and passion, their agents with their greed for money are destroying the beautiful game. Historical success’ mean nothing, “homegrown talents” are a rare breed for the top clubs. A clear example of this would be when 10,000 Liverpool fans protested in Anfield stadium by leaving on the 77th minute the fans protest in Anfield home of some of the most loyal football supporters in the world, right on the 77th minute approximately 10,000 fans walked out of the game and chanted ‘You greedy bastards, enough is enough!’. Not only this but the Manchester City stadium the “Etihad Stadium” has been called the “Emptyhad” due to the high ticket prices. Coincidentally they also own the world’s most expensive squad, as their first 11 costs approximately 853 million euros. Just in the summer of 2017, the team spent approximately 208 million euros on players and those are just their transfer fees, not including their wages and contract bonus’. And only 4 of the 8 transfers play consistently, 3 of the players Kyle Walker, Danilo and Bernardo Silva play every other game. And of the eight only the goalkeeper Ederson plays almost every match.
The prices of players have risen dramatically over the last two years. Just in the last two years the transfer record has been broken 4 times, the first transfer, Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United for 89 million euros, made in the summer of 2017. But in the winter of 2018, that record was broken by the transfer of Ousmane Dembele for 137 million euros from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona, a handful of days later the transfer of Phillipe Coutinho came along which costed 157 million euros, from Liverpool to Barcelona. Than just to top it off the final world record transfer of 200 million euros for Neymar to to transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. Before the transfer of Paul Pogba the most expensive player was Gareth Bale for 75 million euros, in 2013.
This means, from 2013 to 2017 for 5 years a transfer above 75 million euros hadn’t been dared but now clubs spend that money on a centre back with “potential”. Yes, Im talking about the transfer of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton to Liverpool for 75 million euros. Before that the most expensive price put on a centre back was only 50 million euros for the transfer of David Luiz from Paris Saint Germain to Chelsea. The difference is 25 million euros that is a lot of money. Even then the 50 million euro price tag was deemed, a “rush buy” and unnecessary. Anyhow even if the transfer fees were lowered the wage demands of the players are too high. According to Forbes the Real Madrid star earns approximately 92 million euros annually, but that is with business ventures and endorsements so if we remove that, the star earns approximately 19 million euros from weekly wages alone. The second highest wage in the world belongs to the one and only Lionel Messi who earns 80 million euros annually, once again once we remove business ventures and endorsements he only earns 18 million euros annually. But these two are the worlds two best players. Let’s talk about a player that most people consider “past his time” Wayne Rooney, he earns approximately 12 million euros annually, Wayne Rooney is 32 years old, past his prime and plays for a mid table english club, Everton. If a player that is this far past his prime costs a club this much how is a club going to pay for this? Of course! Take it out of the pockets of the loyal fans by raising the price of the tickets.
But is it the same everywhere? The surging nature of German football – whose national team are world champions, whose clubs are still in the Champions League and whose league is more profitable than England’s despite less turnover – is troubling Premier League organisers, said Drasdo. “They are very aware of the threat and if you talk about German football, they get really angry about it. If not for the language difference, German football would be going around the world.” He praised the audits Germans carry out to assess a club’s sustainability, suggesting the model should be followed in England.
So how long can the Premier League boom last? Nevin suggested caution: “In the 1980s, everyone was looking at Italian football but no one is doing that anymore,” he said. Collins felt English football was better built to survive a slump, given that its clubs – unlike their Italian counterparts – own, rather than rent, their stadiums while their commercial revenue is also vastly superior.“The next 10 years of English football could be as equally profitable and expansive as the last 10,” he said. This shows that there is hope for a future in the English Premier, if they base themselves off of the German “Bundesliga”.
This can be reflected in a nation’s national team, for example England has one of the most successful leagues in the world but hasn’t won the world cup since 1966. In fact they are one of the most disappointing teams, so disappointing that over the last year they have switched managers 4 times, which is almost unheard of, and quite embarrassing, how, in a country where football is so popular, can a team not produce any good local players? For example the Germans have teams that compete in the champions league regularly and they also have an amazing youth programs that produce players such as, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Jerome Boateng, all world class players that perform at the highest levels of football, because unlike the English the Germans didn’t sell out their youth teams for foreign players, same with Spain, they have the worlds two best clubs as in Real Madrid and Barcelona, and they still have amazing youth academies that produced players like Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and Pique, all these Spanish players were picked up by the Barcelona youth team, and ended up performing in champions league finals, and world cup finals, for example, Spain had won the 2010 world cup in South Africa. All this goes to prove that the money in football, is causing despair to national teams, fans and the clubs themselves. Football has changed, it has become less about loyalty and wanting to succeed and more about which club can pay the player the most.