£120,000: enough to feed 625 families in Africa for a whole year; yet this is the excessive amount of money that a premiership footballer can earn in one week. And, if just 1% of every Premiership footballer’s wage was donated to helping people with real problems, you could feed around 20,000 African families for a whole year. These figures are astounding and serve to really put things into perspective – the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
What is even more astounding is that these excessive wages are totally incongruous with what the job of a footballer entails. The average week of a footballer involves: a training session, an appointment with the physiotherapist, a press conference and a 90 minute match. And at the end of the week they have enough money to buy a terraced house in the North of England, with cash. The average week of a fire-fighter involves 48 hour shifts, visiting scenes of trauma and horrific accidents, emotional exhaustion and, most importantly, saving lives. And at the end of the week they are lucky if they have enough money to feed a family of four, as they struggle to pay a 25 year mortgage on a terrace in the North. Full-time fire-fighters earn an annual salary of around £25,000 and paramedics around £28,000 – how is it that saving lives, and risking your own in the process, is worth 30 times less than providing sports entertainment. What incentive do children and young people have to become paramedics, social workers or fire-fighters when they can earn more in a day as a footballer than you could in a week in any of the aforementioned professions. The aspirations of the young are shaped by modern culture and this modern culture of celebrity will produce a generation of wannabe celebs: why save lives for £25,000 a year when you can play football for £125,000 a week?
The modern game of football began as entertainment but, since its inception in the 1800’s, it has morphed into money-hungry business with players traded for millions. Football teams earn money from advertising and the fans, yet with the increasing cost of the tickets (the cheapest adult season ticket at Manchester United is £532) many fans can’t afford to watch matches and so the game becomes the elite watching the elite. But football needs fans, for without them the game is redundant. It is difficult imagine that even the most devoted football fans think that playing players more in a year than they may earn in a lifetime is acceptable and fair. So, what would happen if every football fan refused to pay more than a reasonable £7 per match? The clubs would either have to pay players less crumble.
There are two solutions. A modern day Robin Hood in the form of a wage-cap for footballers, so any money earned over the maximum is used to alleviate poverty around the world. OR a mandatory donation of 5% of every footballers wage to charity. Either way, the focus would be back on the sport and millions of people would be lifted out of miserable and hungry lives: two simple solutions to a serious problem.
Don’t agree with Natasha? Read Guy’s opinion of the issue here