ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Money Killing Football?

Updated on August 17, 2011

In 1992 the premier league was founded. In 2010 half of the premier league clubs are now owned by foreign investors. This figure looks set to rise as it appears that outside investment is the only way that the top English clubs can survive in the harsh economic climate. So far this season (2010/2011) two premier league clubs have been taken over by investors: Blackburn by Indian Poultry farmers the Venky’s Group and the high profile takeover of Liverpool by New England Sports Ventures. These takeovers have gained as many column inches as the football itself and this proves that issues off the pitch are as important as the action on it. As this trend continues it appears that the finance behind football dictates the quality of the game. The rise of Man City buoyed by Sheikh Mansour’s bank account shows that cash contributes to success; this all comes after the Roman Abramovich Russian revolution at Chelsea. But what for the clubs who don’t have a limitless transfer and wage budget? More and more teams, particularly in the lower leagues, are struggling to pay for the basics that keep clubs in business and many have to go into administration, incurring massive point penalties as a result. As a supporter of one of these clubs (AFC Bournemouth) I’m starting to feel that investing time and money into watching live football is becoming a futile exercise when the club doesn’t have financial backing required to achieve anything in the modern game. Although if the organisations that control football continue to prioritise profit over the sport, I may not have the choice of following the team, as it may not exist.

The Premier League

The Premier League is arguably the most powerful brand in world football, it broadcasts to over 200 countries and to half a billion people. The league was formed to revitalise the English game following the troubled footballing times of the 80s. It succeeded, with the help of an injection of cash from sky the league flourished. However this was at the expense of the lower leagues. The divide between the top flight and the football league grew over the years as the premiership received huge sponsorship. Clubs that got relegated from the premier league found it difficult to adjust to life in lower and less economically driven leagues. Also clubs started to spend money beyond their budget in order to succeed in the short term, in the long term this would mean they jeopardised their future. For example in 2001 Leeds reached the champions league semi final, in what was the climax of investing millions of pounds of money they didn’t have. Following their defeat to Valencia in this game they went on a downward spiral that lead to relegations and point deductions. It is only now that the club has managed to stabilise and are climbing the leagues again. This is not an isolated incident, other clubs such as Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forrest have all fallen on hard times following their relegation from the premiership. However even the consistently successful teams in England are not safe from economic meltdown.

The green and gold campaign is against the loaning culture of the Glazers, current owners of Man Utd.
The green and gold campaign is against the loaning culture of the Glazers, current owners of Man Utd.

Manchester United and The Glazers

Despite fan protest, in 2005 American tycoon Malcolm Glazer completed a takeover of the premier league’s most successful club, Manchester United. The takeover was paid for with loans. The glazer family have thus far paid nothing towards these loans and the club now registers a debt of £520m with annual interest payments of £45m. Unsatisfied with this treatment of their club, a group of fans decided to create a new club called ‘FC United of Manchester,’ they currently sit in the 7th tier of English football. Not only this but fans who decided to stick with the team started protesting against the glazer ownership by wearing green and gold scarves, in reference to the colours of the club during their origins as Newton Heath. Manchester United remains a divided club as long as the glazers use their income to pay off their debts, so much so that the successes of the team are being overshadowed by the unrest behind the scenes.

Franchise FC (formally Wimbledon FC)

The rise of Wimbledon FC was the ultimate footballing fairy tale story. After working their way through the English lower league system they eventually found themselves in the top flight in 1985, just 9 years after gaining promotion to the football league. Following this, they famously won the FC cup in 1988, beating favourites Liverpool 1-0 in the final. After this pinnacle of success the team remained in the top division for over a decade before getting relegated in 2000. The new millennium brought with it a new incarnation for the team as they were relocated to life size lego city Milton Keynes, 56 miles away from their home in Wimbledon. The team became MK dons, were given a new kit and a new badge. This move was 30 years in the making as Milton Keynes had been looking to poach an existing team to bring to the city. Other clubs were named for relocation during this process such as Luton and Charlton, but Wimbledon were always in the spotlight due to their inadequate stadium facilities. The move went ahead in 2003 much to the fans dismay, it was hoped that they would travel with the team but instead (much like disheartened Man Utd fans) started their own team from the bottom of the English league system: AFC Wimbledon. MK Dons signalled a worrying option for football, a team built out of a franchise, using money from the development of a town rather than the money it made from playing football. They were shockingly allowed to keep the league status earned by Wimbledon and were originally allowed to keep their 1988 FA cup honour. All of these facts contributed to unpopularity throughout the football league and the club is dubbed ‘Franchise FC’ by fans of other sides. To the delight of these fans it seems as though the relocation has not been a success. Even though MK Dons now have a 22,000 seater stadium, courtesy of the ‘mk’ franchise they don’t have the fans to fill it. In contrast, AFC Wimbledon regularly fill their modest ground and the team are steadily climbing the leagues. Further proof that fan power can be more influential than economic prowess, especially when the lower leagues are concerned.

Russia 2018 & Qatar 2022

Football’s governing body FIFA is currently under scrutiny. In recent years the organisation, headed by Sepp Blatter, has been investigated for corrupt activity. The most recent allegations have been made by BBC’s current affairs programme, panorama. It claimed that FIFA officials took bribes in exchange for favourable treatment of certain nations. The programme was aired just days before the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 world cups were announced. Russia and Qatar won these respective bids and this has lead to an aftermath littered with claims of financial irregularity. Russia’s technical bid was described as ‘high risk’and Qatar had many issues including tolerance and the need to build a majority of new stadiums. It is impossible to ignore the fact that both of these nations had heavy financial backing, especially Qatar. FIFA have made it clear that the reasons behind this selection stem from an intention to expand their market to new nations. As a result more established football countries such as England and Spain were overlooked despite having better technical bids. Whether this policy is right or wrong is up for debate, however what is clear is that, be it corrupt or not, money talks in the offices of football’s international affairs. As far as FIFA is concerned the world cup is a brand that is to be exploited and spread to nations that can afford it.

A fair future for football

These are just a few examples of how money is having an adverse effect on football. I’ve not mentioned escalating transfer fees, huge wage bills and money grabbing agents. The recent Wayne Rooney transfer farce, where Rooney held Manchester United to ransom over wages, proves that football is dominated by the money men and seasoned professionals like Sir Alex Ferguson have no choice but to take it. The Hicks and Gillett saga at Liverpool, where the two tycoons had to have Liverpool FC prised away from them by the courts, showed a disregard for a history that the club’s fans hold dear (see video above). If football is to avoid a future where clubs operate as businesses rather than sports teams it needs to take lessons from other sports. Wage caps and drafts are compulsory in American sports and ensure they are dominated by talent and not by big bank balances. These sorts of changes need to be made in football. The European football body UEFA are taking steps to ensure that wages do not balloon and that home grown academies are encouraged. FIFA and The Premier League needs to follow suit if we are to have a fair future for football.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ushnav profile image

      Ushnav Shroff 

      5 years ago from INDIA

      Liked the hub and the way you have expressed it, even if I don't agree with some of the points here. Good writing! :)

    • Ben Cawley profile image

      Ben Cawley 

      6 years ago from Halifax, England.

      Man United wasnt the most successful team in English football in 2005, especially since Liverpool won the Champions League that year. But they are now so I guess Ill let you off :P

    • profile image

      football live scores 

      7 years ago

      money and success should be same rate

    • profile image

      shafqatadasf 

      7 years ago

      Soccer court?!?! Kobe Bryant has the wrong kind of body to play soccer properly. He would never make it as a professional soccer player in a top league.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)