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What can a Salary cap give Football?

Sunday 10th July 2011
Football has come a long way in the past 15 years. The introduction of big media and foreign investment has seen the wages of even the youngest, most unproven of players soar well above what your average 'man in the street' earns. The common belief is that football is quickly losing touch with its fans. And with players earnings spiralling quickly out of control. Could a wage cap help level the playing field and maybe allow for a fairer system? Lets take a look.

I'd like to point out that i'm no financial expert. This is just an idea. I'll leave the money men to 'fix football'. I'm just a fan with an opinion.

Ok firstly for a salary cap to achieve both a reduction in wages, and a fairer, more even league the cap would have to be league wide. This means that regardless of how rich or poor you are the cap maximum remains the same. This would allow every team to offer a player the same amount. For example. If Arsenal offer Danny Dichio a league maximum £40k a week for his services, Stoke can also offer up to that amount. All of a sudden teams aren't simple going to be able to throw money at a player. The smaller teams can compete where before they didn't have a leg to stand on. Now obviously a player is more inclined to join Arsenal over Stoke (just my opinion) but at least its not down to the size of their pay packet.

The FA's recent decision to limit the sizes of Premiership squads would also come into play. If the wage cap for the year is £25m. You can distribute that £30m on your 25 man squad. If you're carrying extra wages, then you'd be forced to find a new home for that player, either on loan or a good ol' fashioned transfer. Failing to get under the cap would result in a fine, or a point deduction. A significant one. All of a sudden teams aren't loading up their squads with highly paid bench warners (Michael Owen anyone?). And players that would be sat on the bench are playing for another team. Distributing the talent, and in turn making the game fairer and more equal.

I'm not stupid enough to believe that players would like this, after-all who really wants to take a pay-cut? i also know that unless the FIFA implement this across the the globe it would leave the Premiership lagging behind the other major league's. However, if we are serious about putting a stop to the rise in player wages, we need to take serious action. And fast.

One final thing. Whilst i admire that Uefa president Michel Platini is trying to limit the way certain teams throw their money around. I think they have the basic idea wrong. Instead of trying to stop teams from spending above and beyond their means, we need to flat out cap what teams can spend on wages and transfer fee's. If you impose a maximum transfer fee that allows all teams to compete on a level playing field, we might well save this game we all love so very much.

* I'm a big fan of the NHL (national hockey league). Unlike FIFA, the NHL have a system much like the one i propose. However i do appreciate that because its a closed system with revenue sharing and trades as opposed to transfers that a cap is easier to implement.
Daniel Holt

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