When Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak urged European football to bring in a salary cap it showed he realises the fact that something needs to be done quickly as finance in the game is out of control. City themselves have a wage bill in excess of £100m a year and payments to agents over £10m. In hoping for his call to work, he is right in thinking that it is about time the Premier League kept a control on their vast spending and huge sums of money that certain clubs pay their managers and players.
Al Mubarak said that he wants European football to adapt the American style. He said: “I am a fan of the American model (using salary caps). The European model cannot be sustained without new parameters, commercial parameters that allow competition, that allow revenue distribution, and that will allow talent to continue to prosper.” His comments come on the back of the same issue being raised by Lord Mawhinney, the outgoing Football League chairman, who said: “The business model of professional football in this country doesn’t work, it’s broke and you see that reflected in the administrations and all the rest of it.” Some English clubs are now in the spotlight for operating under heavy debts and should the introduction of salary caps take place it must be taken and agreed to for the good of the game.
Manchester City’s wealth means that opposition clubs who end up selling their top players to Eastlands, or have one of their players strongly linked with a move, will act with a freedom that will see them set a certain price for the player- even if the player is no way worth it. This is just the way business in football has been ever since rich owners took over clubs and al Mubarak clearly recognises this so he does not want to be taken for a fool. Inevitably if a player is worth £10m and his club sees that City are after him then there is every chance they will double the price. Even though al Mubarak is stressing what a lot of figures in football are already saying, his agenda at City is different because of the crazy prices they have ended up paying for players along with wage demands that are bound to come from different players.
Along with the players and staff at the club, the chairman knows that the over inflated wages is something that is ruining clubs and, if anything, the whole ripping off issue applies to the supporters. Hardcore Manchester City fans will have season tickets and should their club qualify for the Champions League then that will be an extremely proud moment for them. However, if Eastlands is to be packed to the rafters next season, with possible Champions League matches, then they would want the fans on their side wouldn’t they? Khaldoon Al Mubarak will be fully aware of the importance of his role and, genuinely or not, seems to understand what it means to the City followers. He said: “Once you go to Manchester and you are the chairman of Man City Football Club, you quickly realise the importance of that club to the city of Manchester and the people of Manchester, and that passion is not something that you take lightly. I was really aware of how much people care and their lives are almost connected to it. This is a team that has had a huge fan base but one that has been very frustrated.”
A wealthy owner running what is becoming one of the richest clubs in the world could be the reason why al Mubarak has spoken so publicly about this matter- he wants to show he cares and not to abuse his position. With wages going dramatically out of control, something that needs to be addressed at City as much as anywhere else, the game of football needs to be kept intact and if action is taken on this matter it will only be positive. The owner may have been labeled as a hypocrite after making the comments about this issue, considering the spending and wages City have been involved in, but he can go a long way towards having a good reputation should the scheme take off.
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