Footballers and Their Agents Are Not Overpaid

September 29, 2018

When it comes to the usual adjectives used to describe the salaries of top-flight footballers, they more often than not concentrate on the idea of them being 'obscene' or 'underserved'. In my view, however, I believe them to be fair. This is clearly not a popular view but it is a factual one.


Ever since the late and great Jimmy Hill pushed for the removal of the 'pay cap' for professional football players, they have become the best example of a collective group of employees securing the best contracts possible for their services. 


Sadly, however, these football players are vilified rather than lauded for this achievement. A state of affairs that I find quite confusing.


For example, while I believe that these players should be used by the Labour Party as an example of what a collective of employees can do to better their lot effectively. They are instead demonized and presented as examples of the inequality created by Capitalism. This is an extraordinary way for the Labour Party to view, predominantly working-class men, that have managed to secure the best remuneration they can for their services. Alas, the founding principles of the Labour Party, to be the party of the workers, has long been forgotten and replaced by the politics of virtue signaling, victimhood, and identity. This is an enormous shame.


There is a similar narrative about footballers agents, these individuals are universally derided and portrayed as undeserving parasites leeching off the talent of their clients. Again, this is an incredibly lazy interpretation of their job and is a viewpoint that is either willfully ignorant or just simply ignorant


Rather than vilify football players and their agents, I believe that there is an enormous amount to admire and learn from them.


Through a holy trinity of football playing talent (the player), quality negotiation and understanding of the market value of the player (the agent) and centralising the interests of the players interests (the football players association), football players have managed to secure salaries that are as close to their real market value as possible. There are very few other industries where the employees are able to negotiate salaries that leave so little relative profit to their employers. This is staggeringly impressive and is the reason why the Premier League (EPL) is the most watched league in the world. 


By securing the best contracts for players, the best players in the world have been attracted to the EPL, which has, in turn, made the League the most watched sporting league in the world. The Manchester derby last year attracted over 1 Billion viewers, that is frankly jaw-dropping. These players are simply receiving remuneration commensurate to their market value and this competitive environment has resulted in a truly market leading product. Football, along with the Royal family, are the only commodities the UK exports these days, and it is through its free-market approach that the Premier League has left all other competing products in its wake. Alas, rather than recognize the success and money the Premier League brings to the UK, people instead choose to complain about what they perceive to be obscene salaries.  


I believe this to be a complete waste of time and a complete waste of a valuable learning opportunity.


Rather than focus on how high the player's salaries are, or the fees taken by their agents, people should instead use this example to understand the mechanics of the jobs market and how they can increase their value within it.


I also firmly believe that football clubs should share the amount of tax paid by their players as, this would swiftly change the public perception of footballers. Alexis Sanchez, Man Utd player, is paid 450K per week. While this is a huge amount to earn it also relates to a huge amount of money being deducted by The Treasury each week. This money is then used to fund numerous public services that frankly will not be used by Mr. Sanchez. Outside of the tax he is paying, with the remaining money he earns, it is also very likely that he will put that back into the economy through the purchasing of goods and services. Again, another big win for UK PLC. Alas, this viewpoint is rarely expressed and rather than celebrate the clear benefits we all garner from the wages paid to these players, we instead criticize and condemn them because of an enormous lack of understanding of how the economy works and how we all benefit from the salaries paid to football players.


It is time to stop using football players and their agents as pariahs and instead to celebrate them and their achievements.

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