Reflections from the Window

Before I get started, no, this isn’t about who we signed or who we should have signed or even who I’d like to see signed. It’s about the governing bodies and what they could or should do to ensure a level playing field. The economics of football has literally exploded over the past few years and it has served only to polarise it further to the detriment of the less wealthy clubs and gradually pulling it away from the grass roots and its traditional fan-base.
Personally, I think the concept of the transfer windows in itself is sound. Limiting clubs to when they can buy players is a good idea. It keeps small and/or struggling clubs from being dismantled in mid-season and it prevents richer clubs from monopolising transfers all year round. I’m not too clear on the new Fair Play rules but certainly I’m all for squad limitations and fully accept and acknowledge the need for a percentage of players to be homegrown or nationals. That can only be healthy for football on a national level. But more could and should be done.

1. Salary caps – There is a definite need for this. Lord knows that the top players in today’s game earn far more than they could actually ever need solely in endorsements, advertising campaigns and tv appearances. Incremental salary caps would at least ensure that a greater number of clubs could bid for a player’s services providing the initial transfer fee is within their reach.

2. Transfer fees – The implementation of ceilings for transfer fees (both national and international) might also be a good idea. While it would be foolish to do away with the free market economy entirely in football, estabishing a maximum fee for international transfers and another for national transfers while allowing enough room for negotiation would allow the less wealthy clubs to become more competitive in the market. Of course, luring players would still very much depend on the size and reputation of individual clubs as well as the type of football on offer, but I think we’d see more varied movement than we are currently seeing.

3. Limitations on contracts – It’s frustrating to see players threatening to go on strike and refusing to play given the salaries they receive. One idea might be to prohibit the use of buy-out clauses and to implement a rule preventing clubs from selling until a contract has run down. If, say, a player was brought for 25 million and signs a three, four or five year contract (five being the maximum allowed), those contracts should be absolutely binding. Clubs would then not be able to buy and sell at will (given squad limitations) or on a whim. Exceptions to this rule would have to be considered and analyzed minutely, but I think it would be workable.

Anyway, just some thoughts (which haven’t necessarily matured) on what I think could be done to help the game in general. No need to comment. I just wanted to get it down. Football for the rich is a growing phenomena which I’d like to see curbed.

 

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