They’re not saving lives, they’re not bettering the world and most of them are probably not even paying tax, so why are footballers paid the astronomical salaries that they are? It is one of the questions that gets asked time and time again. Many think that footballers are overpaid for what they do, and that there should be more parity between the salaries of those who kick a piece of leather around a field for a living and those who are saving lives on a daily basis. Join us as we look at one of the oldest clashes of all; football vs money: why are footballers paid so much?
The beautiful game
At the root of the big pay packets that players enjoy is our love of the game. In simple terms – the more we watch, the more they get paid. But we can also make a profit by betting on the games they play by picking your super 6. That’s a very simplistic view, but when you consider that a club’s income streams are ticket sales, merchandising and broadcasting deals, you can see that the money in football – and that used to play the wages of the players – is generated by the fans themselves. The Bank of England has modelled the statistics around football players’ wages and shown that if we were to take less interest in football, then the money generated would decrease, clubs would have less to spend and players’ wages would have to pay the price.
More than just a game
It can seem that players are paid big bucks to turn up and kick a ball around for 90 minutes once a week, but the truth is that being a footballer in the very best leagues in the world requires dedication, hard work and sacrifice. The training schedule is gruelling and as well as match days, there are also workouts and training each week. To be a Premier League footballer, you really have to be the best of the best, and that means training harder and longer and with more determination than anyone else.
Friends and family
Think about when you like watching football – at the weekend, but of course, many of us work at the weekend. But what about Boxing Day and New Years’ Day? The Christmas and New Year fixture list is one of the things that makes Christmas for many of us, and there are many families who build their festive traditions around watching the games. You may have even found yourself balled up on the sofa, hangover raging and a greasy fry up looking back at you as you settle into the excitement of the games. There is no such option for the players who we love to watch. They will have spent a very sober day – likely away from their family if they are playing an away game – training, preparing and doing everything but enjoying the festivities. For us, Christmas is a time of cheer and celebration and football. For footballers is a time of work, abstinence and focus. There are great gains when it comes to being a footballer, we know that – and some of those are financial – but there are great sacrifices to be made too.
When it comes to being a footballer, a long career is something that even the top players dream of. And when we are talking about ‘long’ we’re talking about a decade at most. The working life of top footballers is pretty short compared to the rest of us. ‘And?’ we hear you scoff- highly paid and early retirement, what is there to moan about? But with a lack of work comes a lack of money, so there seems some fairness in paying footballers a lot to entertain us over what is, in reality, a short period of work.