It seems very rich that Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck should call for a salary cap in the Premier League. After all, it was Bruce Buck, hired by Roman Abramovich in 2004 that offered massive salary’s to the likes of Andriy Shevchenko, John Terry and Frank Lampard. Should the Premier League really take the Chelsea man seriously. If Roman Abramovich had continued to spend such vast sums of money on Chelsea, and if Manchester City hadn’t been bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited – do we really believe Bruce Buck would be making such statements. Of course not. The Chelsea Chairman is anxious of Manchester City’s spending power and would like to see it reined in to help Chelsea compete long term.
Though we shouldn’t be lectured by Bruce Buck or any of the money men at Chelsea, a salary cap is something that the Premier League ought to consider based on its own merits. With Uefa introducing the Financial Fair Play regulations from the 2013-2014 season, where clubs will have to break even or be excluded from European competition – is it now the time to introduce such measures. These seem very sensible measures set out by Uefa but will a salary cap really change anything for Europe’s top clubs. For example, Manchester United make record losses. A salary cap would do very little to adjust the books because of the debt placed on the club. The same can be said for Barcelona. The club have massive debts, again a salary cap wouldn’t even dent the money owed by the club.
The salary cap could danger the quality of players in the English game. If the Premier League were to introduce such a cap then it must be a fear that players will simply move to countries outside of the cap. We would all love to believe that we have some of the worlds top players because of the standard of our game. Simply, this isn’t true. Our top clubs pay huge sums of money to attract and keep the top players. Hypothetically, if a salary cap was introduced last week, do we truly believe that Wayne Rooney would have signed a new deal at Manchester United?
A salary cap, though a noble effort to bring English football into the real world – unfortunately it would damage the quality of the players in our league. Football clubs are private businesses and have the right to pay their employees what ever they feel is appropriate. Some clubs have been responsible and some have been so very irresponsible. However, this is the free market and as frustrating as it is to see young footballers role into clubs in top of the range sports cars while hundreds are made redundant, this is the price we all have to pay the success the league has had over the years.
The situation changes if Fifa were to introduce a worldwide salary cap. Clubs would have to be more responsible and players salary’s would be brought into the real world. This could bridge the gap between the superstars and the fans who pay so much each week to see them. On average Premier League clubs are paying 67% of turnover on wages and this financial in balance needs to be addressed. A salary cap would help but if agents are demanding such huge sums for their players, what choice to clubs really have. Before a salary cap, a code of conduct for agents and football club owners needs to be drawn up.
A salary cap is without doubt what the majority of football fans want to see. However, what fans also want to see is the best player possible playing at their club – and they cost money. We have to accept that with one we lose the other. What are our priories? Top players or bringing the game back to some sort of noble profession. The problem is we have allowed football clubs to offer such huge sums of money for too long now – can we really put an end to it in one swoop. A salary cap is dangerous but does need to be explored to see if it is applicable. Football needs to look at other sports and make sure we understand the pros and cons. If we encourage responsibility and better conduct by all, we will have a better game for it. A salary cap should only be introduced if it could guarantee better practice in the game.
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