Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughShould A Salary Cap Be Introduced In Football? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Should A Salary Cap Be Introduced In Football? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Should A Salary Cap Be Introduced In Football?

With the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new and improved deal with Real Madrid that makes him the second highest paid player in the world, is it time that football introduced a worldwide salary cap before it ends up destroying itself with astronomical wage bills?

Samuel Eto’o, of Russian club Anzhi, currently enjoys an annual salary of about £20m. He sits at the top of a list of an elite group of players that earn phenomenal wages, averaging about £250k – £300k per week. Whilst billionaire owners are happy to lavish stars with big money contracts, what are the consequences of such actions and is this raising the salary levels and salary expectations across the board for all clubs, regardless of how rich they are?

Putting a value on someone’s work is always difficult, regardless of what profession they have. Who is to judge whether a school teacher is paid less than a lawyer, or a footballer more than a rugby player? Market forces come into play, with the general agreement that the less people that can satisfactorily perform the task, the more money the few that can should be paid. By this strict definition, astronauts and medical specialists should be multi-millionaires, whilst shop assistants and cleaners should be on the lowest wages.

Whilst it is true that the aforementioned example would result in much higher pay for the two professions than the relatively unskilled jobs, it is certainly not true to say that they are paid anywhere near as much as a footballer. Why has football taken on its own set of rules and began eclipsing sports that not so long ago were in the same pay bracket?

The short answer to this question is that media rights are the driving force behind the salaries we see today. Whilst it is also true that the last decade has seen a sudden influx of wealthy owners keen to buy their own club and invest in a real life game of fantasy football, player wages have been on a dramatic rise well before Mr Abramovich and others took an interest in the sport. Fans will often blame Rupert Murdoch and his Sky Corporation, which began televising live matches with the introduction of the Premier League in 1992. Their bid of over £300m gave them exclusive rights to show Premiership matches for five years and was the first time ever that English football was taken off terrestrial television.

In the subsequent 20 years, the bids have risen every time the licence has to be renewed, such is the fierce competition and demand to show Premier League matches. There is now a worldwide audience that regularly watch and support English teams, despite the fact that the viewers may be based in countries as far away as India and China. 

As a result of increased coverage and rising demand comes extra income and this is what is forcing clubs to pay wages higher than they have ever paid before. As the global stars of the game flock to teams like Chelsea and Manchester City, they do so in the knowledge that not only will they be rewarded with the highest level of football, but also the best salary possible. It seems obvious that if someone was to offer you an increase to your salary then you would accept it, so why wouldn’t a footballer?

There are clearly not many elite level players earning the six figure weekly rewards on offer, but the damage is being done further down the pay scale as well. As the top salaries continue to rise, the medium salaries also increase slightly, as do the lowest salaries. The consequences of this are felt most sharply at smaller clubs, where even a small increase to their expenditure can threaten their existence. It is no coincidence that during the time that football is apparently at its peak regarding money flowing into the game, we have never seen so many clubs going bankrupt and struggling with administration threats.


Will FIFA, UEFA and all the national football associations come together and impose a salary cap to prevent this situation getting any further out of hand? The changes need to be made at the highest levels and then they will filter down throughout the football pyramid. If nothing is done then I can see the day when players end up receiving £500k per week or more and then the bridge between players and fans will be so great that it will be impossible to repair. Let’s not allow money to spoil our beautiful game!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *