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Is money ruining sport?

Sunday 18 October, 12.00 until 13.00, Free Stage, Barbican Contemporary

The English Premier League is regularly the subject of outraged editorials about its
astonishing money-go-round. Even leaving aside the huge transfer fees like the
49million Manchester City are said to have paid for Raheem Sterling the wages
paid are enormous. City and their neighbours Manchester United both have wage
bills in excess of 200million per year. TV rights for the three seasons from 2016
have been sold for over 5 billion. The result is anguished discussion about the
effect on young, suddenly wealthy players and on the loyalty and wallets of fans.
But the effect of money on sport goes way beyond football. Die-hard cricket fans
fret that the rise of the much shorter but lucrative 20/20 format is undermining test
cricket. Auctioning TV rights meant this years Ashes series had no live free-to-view
coverage. Elsewhere, sceptics suggest Team Skys money has bought the Tour de
France. Some tennis players, like Maria Sharapova, seem to be more successful for
modelling and endorsements than on court. Boxings pay-per-view business model
means riches for promoters and fighters, but the end product like this years fight
between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is often an overpriced
disappointment. There are also plenty of accusations that the administration of
sport, most famously in the case of FIFA, is hopelessly corrupt.
On the other hand, the fact that fans are willing to pay such prices suggests the
product is of a high standard. While there is much reminiscing about the amateur,
Corinthian spirit, surely it is only right that competitors with short careers at the top
get a fair share of the spoils? Lottery money for training facilities and coaches
meant British competitors at London 2012 were able to win plenty of gold medals
and generate enormous excitement across the nation.
Is the hatred directed towards big money in sport justified? Have the interests of TV,
football agents and foreign owners trumped the needs and emptied the wallets of
fans? Should supporters, like those of Manchester United and Wimbledon, vote with
their feet and start again by creating their own clubs? Has money raised standards
and allowed professional sports stars particularly footballers - to finally earn a
living commensurate with their fame? Or has the lure of money created a
generation of terrible role models for young people?
Guardian Live: is big money ruining English football?
The Premier League earned a record 5.1 billion TV deal earlier this year for the
2016-2019 seasons, a figure that has led some to ask whether this money should be
more evenly distributed across all football leagues, and whether in fact big money is
bad news for the beautiful game.

At a Guardian Live event in London, football author and historian David Goldblatt
chaired an expert panel to debate the issue and to discuss the ongoing impact of
big money on the sport with a lively audience of Guardian Members.
The panel comprised:
Pat Nevin former Chelsea and Scotland international now working in media
Damian Collins Conservative MP behind the Football Governance Bill
Duncan Drasdo CEO of the Manchester United Supporters Trust
Nevin got the debate started by suggesting that economically, big money is good
for English football: Stadiums and facilities are a million times better, he said.
However, morally and philosophically, I have a slightly different view.
His fellow panellists agreed that the Premier League lucre had brought in a dubious
crowd. The growth in revenue has attracted the wrong kind of owners, particularly
those looking to use clubs as a cash cow, said Drasdo. He lamented clubs whose
futures had been recklessly gambled by their boards in the hope of ascending the
Premier League, citing the costly failures of Leeds and Portsmouth.
The talent takeover
Collins said although businesses were always looking to maximise profits, it was
legitimate to ask if the spirit of the game was being lost given the power held by
both agents and players. The latter have become more powerful than the sport
they represent thats the problem with football, he said. However, there was
some benefit; according to Drasdo, clubs riches have made the Premier League a
more balanced and competitive championship.
Collins wants to see the cash trickle down to footballs grassroots but is sceptical:
Running a big football club now is like running a Hollywood studio its a content
business, he said. The money goes to the stars.
Nevin believes it is only natural that the chief actors in any drama (albeit
unscripted as Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore likes to say) get the most
cash. Nonetheless, the Premier League does give money to grassroots football and
the Football Foundation, and says some 800m of the new deal will go to such
Those social issues the game is working on Im proud of them, said Nevin. One
of the best things football has done is drive the fight against bigotry, sexism and
racism, because any time such issues raise their ugly heads, football because it is
a business has to do something.
But what about the negative implications? Nevin suggested that most players who
claim to play for the love of football are lying: They play for the money, and there

is too much cheating now, he said. I enjoy womens football more than mens
because no one dives or rolls about.
He also expressed concern that Englands national team had suffered because of
the presence of so many foreign players, and said Scotlands league had
deteriorated in similar fashion but improved once it returned to fielding more locally
born players.
Brand loyalty
Drasdo blamed modern footballs corporate nature for changing traditional aspects
of the game, where fanatical fans have been turned into customers because of their
brand loyalty.
Because were customers, we now believe were opening ourselves up to
exploitation if we act in that ultra-loyal way, he said of fans current reluctance to
attend every game. He blamed owners for the problem and argued against a single
shareholder having overall control, because that gives them the ability to exploit
the club.
All three panellists said the atmosphere had worsened in Englands top league,
despite the improvement of stadiums, because of the changing demographics of
those attending.
A former winger of renown, Nevin believes he would have been lost to the game
were ticket costs as high when he was a child as they are now. Drasdo related a
time when he discussed ticket prices with Scudamore, suggesting the Premier
League should ringfence some of the TV money to subsidise entry costs, and went
on to quote Scudamore as saying: Believe me, I have tried. Ive asked the clubs
and all they want is something that will give them more money.
Nevin put the difficulty in getting clubs to see this down to the short-term fashion
in which they approach such issues, while a Burnley fan in the audience claimed his
club had put up ticket prices by 78% after their promotion to the Premier League, a
grievance Collins said the government should be addressing.
Regulation not relegation
The issue of governmental regulation of football is being increasingly debated, with
Collins leading the way. The MP wants to see clubs financially vetted, along with
greater fan representation on boards so clubs consider the broader interest of the
fan base when considering their financial options.
Whereas most MPs feel sport is a private matter that shouldnt be regulated by the
government, Collins thinks governments should take action, especially if the FA
lacks the power to keep bad owners out of clubs:We have that in broadcasting

where OFCOM can take away a licence or refuse to issue one, so we can do it in
sport, he said.
Drasdo wants independent directors who have a legal and liable responsibility to
protect the long-term interests of the club on every board. He also proposed that
clubs should be treated like listed buildings: You can have a listed building as a
private asset but there are certain things that are restricted such as knocking the
building down. He added that the job shouldnt fall to the FA, since the organisation
is compromised by having Premier League representatives on its own board.
Dont mention the Germans
But is it the same everywhere? The surging nature of German football whose
national team are world champions, whose clubs are still in the Champions League
and whose league is more profitable than Englands despite less turnover is
troubling Premier League organisers, said Drasdo. They are very aware of the
threat and if you talk about German football, they get really angry about it. If not for
the language difference, German football would be going around the world. He
praised the audits Germans carry out to assess a clubs sustainability, suggesting
the model should be followed in England.
So how long can the Premier League boom last? Nevin suggested caution: In the
1980s, everyone was looking at Italian football but no one is doing that anymore,
he said. Collins felt English football was better built to survive a slump, given that its
clubs unlike their Italian counterparts own, rather than rent, their stadiums while
their commercial revenue is also vastly superior.
The next 10 years of English football could be as equally profitable and expansive
as the last 10, he said.
Piers Edwards is a BBC sports presenter, CNN World Sport contributor and
talkSPORT Live Premier League commentator.

Is money ruining sports?

Money has always been involved in sports since the early ages. In today's
context due to the wrong use of money the prestige of sports has been declining.
Cases such as match fixing, betting, corruption can sometimes be seen in the
headline of newspapers and magazines. It is an inevitable fact that these cases is
spoiling the reputation of sports. However, money is also helping find and
encourage sportsperson and fans too.
Corruption and bribery is some of the activities that has ruined the sports and its
reputation. Recently, in the newspaper we could read about Mohammad Bin Haman
of AFC getting arrested for bribing FIFA officials in return of selecting him as the next
president through biased votes. Examples such as of Haman shows that sports

industries has corrupt people who are using the platform of sports for their own
benefit. Hence the beauty and reputation is lost with prevailing use of money.
Likewise, corruption in the government sector has also ruined reputation of sports.
Government allocates certain amount of money from the total budget in sports, but
the officials in ministries misuse that amount and deprive infrastructural and
sustainable development in sports sector. Players are discouraged due to low
facilities and tend to lose their spirit. Similarly, there also has been the monopoly
created on sports due to money Clubs that can provide handsome wages and
emoluments to their players succeed to be successful, whereas certain clubs with
lack of budget and economy have nothing substantial to do except for falling under
low profiled clubs with low success rate. For instance, Manchester City is owned by
the royal family of UAE and has high & standard facilities to their club for
subsequent success. Moreover, the reputation of sports is also declined by the
match fixing cases. For instance, Pakistani cricket player and captain Salman Butt
was arrested for match fixing. Cases like this has stained in the reputation of sports
because the thrill associated with sports has completely erased as matches are
fixed and predicted. It is almost like watching a choreographed and rehearsed dance
rather than the actual talent and originality of dance. On the other hand, money has
also changed the dimension of ancient sports. Sports is adored by most people due
to exorbitant wages associated with it. Young generation are encouraged for
involving in sports. They want to work hard for their clubs and countries. Players
give their life for the sports. This is all due to money being involved. Hence the
beauty is always preserved. In a nutshell, money may have revolutionized the
sports due to advantageous factors like development and encouragement but still
the cases like corruption, bribery match fixing has spoilt the prestige of sports,
hence money is spoiling reputation of sports is dominant.

Money is ruining sports. To what extent do you agree?

"Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it."
(-Russell H. Conwell, 1877) In todays day age money can indeed influence many
decisions. We have heard several times of the clichd saying,
Money cant buy everything but is it really so? True, maybe it cant buy love,
happiness, or peace of mind, but it can buy political office, and once you
have that the other pieces fall into place. Although sports and decisions
related to it are considered to be fair and non-political, in the recent years,
money has become a deciding factor especially for sports franchises that
want to put together winning teams, and for cities that hope to keep their
teams and the civic pride and prestige they bring. The article by Pulitzer
Prize-winning sportswriter Dave Anderson of the New York Times on money
and sports clearly examines the all-persuasive role of money in sports. From
the rising costs of players and coaches salaries to some team owners
demands for new publicly financed stadiums, money has to a huge extent,
commercialized the sports sector.

Match fixing; gambling, bribing and the use of political power all depict the
evil side of sports. Paying huge sum of money to players to lose has become
an increasing trend. Also many investments are made in developing nations
to build more and more stadiums when there are already more than enough.
How do politicians and franchise backers justify using public funds for
stadiums built exclusively for a private enterprise? Stadium supporters
usually promote the potential for economic redevelopment and growth as a
result of a new facility, along with emotional value and pride. But the actual
benefits are somewhat unclear and hard to quantify. Article 3 of the FIFA rule
book defines it as neutral in the matter of politics and religion. However, FIFA
has not really been able to maintain that. In the fallout that
followed last weeks voting to give Russia the 2018 world cup and Qatar the
2022 world cup, FIFAS general secretary commented: Its a political decision to
open up to the world. It was the same with hosts South Africa. Besides, Qatar has
huge resources. But what about the extreme heat there? You cannot aircondition the whole country! Whatsoever, FIFA is convinced of having made
the best choice. This clearly shows us how FIFAs decisions are entirely based
on the principles of petro -dollars. Votes are every now and then lobbied to
make the bids of the nations successful.
In some ways or the other, sports also contribute in increasing the social gap.
Looking back, the
history tells us how gladiators fight took place in the coliseum. The situation
was of Win or die and those who fought were the slaves. They were the
source of entertainment for the elites and the high class. Although such
extreme form of discrimination does not exist today, many sporting activities
do lead to social discrepancies. For instance, New Jerseys Giants Stadiums
where the pro football New York Giants and Jets play, added an additional 46
luxury suites in 1998 to go with their 72 existing suites. Some of the new
suites had a season cost ranging from $156,000 to $350,000 per suite,
compared to the average one-game ticket price in the National Football
League in 1997 of about $38. The cost of these luxury suites has quadruped
by now.
Some may argue that sports have not been fully commercialized and are
solely played for the passion of playing. However, they must not overlook the
fact that players who once used to play the game for the love of it, often
spending money from their pockets, are now increasingly demanding a
compensation package befitting a CEO of a large multinational corporation!
Greed! Professional Sport today has been evolved into total
commercialization and money has become the driving factor for many
players. In one year, a famous Indian cricketer does more advertisements
and endorsements than the number of games he plays. Should not he be
concentrating more in his games? Baseball, Americas most popular
professional sport for most of the 20 th century has a history that reflects the
rise of money as a dominating factor in pro sports. For nearly a century,

baseballs reserve clause gave franchise owners great leverage over the
players by dictating that no player could move to another team unless
traded or released, limiting the players ability to negotiate his salary. Money
can also buy a winning sports team. In recent years the New York Yankees
shelled out the most bucks for players and in return won four playoff titles in
five years. Noticing that, the Texas Rangers went and signed shortstop Alex
Rodriguez to a $252 million contract in the hope that people will finally stop
thinking theres an outfielder on the team named Walker and hes played by
Chuck Norris. If hes smart,
(he must be since anyone who can extort not really extort but negotiate
that kind of money) hell sock most of it away. After all, a baseball career
cant last forever. If he plays his cards right he should have enough money
when he retires to buy himself, oh, as many as four Senate seats.
In todays world, Money to a great extent has jeopardized the honorable and
unprejudiced image of sports. It should be that activity that is merely
focused on fortune but rather in the values of perseverance, team-work,
discipline and integrity. Today the fans have been jolted and numbed to
observe in silence the evolving total business- the invasion of big franchises
with their uncompromising bottom-line motives slowly spreading their
tentacles into their beloved sports! Fans have been disappointed and highly
disenchanted as the fierce loyalty once displayed by their sports icon has
been dwindled for the sake of materialistic money. Yes, money is an
important part of sports but one needs to realize that it is not the most
important one. Financing sports is not wrong provided it is not misused.
Athletes need to be paid considerable amount of salaries and bonuses to
keep them motivated not to buy them. Also provisions for scholarships
should be there to promising athletes

Is money ruining sport?

Written by Mark Briggs on 28th July 2014. Posted in Current features,
Features, Uncategorized
Bucking the trend of the global recession, the sports industry has continued
to go from financial strength to strength over recent years. According to
auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global sports industry will generate
106bn in revenue in the period between 2010 and 2015.

It is increasingly easy to watch any match, in any sport, from any league
wherever you are in the world either on television or online. Sports are
breaking out of their traditional national markets and ploughing new furrows,
seeking new fan bases and markets.
Money is pouring into the industry. Yet two of 2014s showpiece sporting
events have threatened to be over shadowed by the cost of hosting.
Februarys Winter Olympics in Sochi cost 38bn, three times the price of the
London Olympics two years before and more than all previous Winter
Olympics combined. The games were widely accused of being a vanity
project by the Russian government, and suffering from large scale corruption.
Meanwhile this summers World Cup in Brazil saw protests throughout the
carnival of football over the cost of the event and failure to deliver on
planned infrastructure projects for the benefit of the country after the finals
have finished.
Has sport become a plaything of the super rich? Do investments raise
standards, or isolate games from their traditional fan base, losing what
makes them special in the process? Is money ruining sport?
Back home
The amount of money currently in football is growing at a phenomenal rate.
This year the English Premier League awarded the team who came bottom of
the league 60 million pounds in prize money. The same amount awarded to
last years winners. Last summer Real Madrid paid 100 million euros for
Gareth Bale, and this year Lionel Messi signed a new contract with Barcelona
reported to be worth 20m a year.
Europes most prestigious club competition is being increasingly dominated
by the super-rich. Since 2007 there has never been more than one team per
year in the semi-finals of the Champions League which has never been there
For me Europe is like the Wild West when it comes to sports regulation,
says Petros Mavroidis who on top of his work with the Global Governance
Programme at the EUI is also on UEFAs (Union of European Football
Associations) Club Financial Control Board.
The National Football League, (NFL) the top American Football league in the
US is one of the most heavily regulated of any league in the world. Salary

caps, revenue sharing, and player drafts didnt stop the league making
profits last year of 6bn. In fact it may have helped. Over the past 30 years
27 of the NFLs 32 teams have played in the Super Bowl (the leagues final)
at least once. There is genuine unpredictability about results each week,
which keeps fans interested.
In contrast the National Basketball Association was less regulated and the
league became dominated by a few major teams. Between 1978 and 2011
only 8 different teams won the championship. Games between these teams
drew large television audiences, but the rest of the league lost fans and the
majority of the teams were in debt. In 2010 the league adopted revenue
sharing similar to the system used in the NFL. Market share has increased,
and now the majority of teams generate a profit.
Financial Fair Play
Money doesnt guarantee success, at least not immediately. However the
gap between those who spend vast sums on players, wages, and facilities
and those who do not is becoming increasingly difficult to bridge as the
money involved goes up and is increasingly concentrated at the top.
Yet at the same time many other teams in lower leagues struggle to pay
their bills. In 2010 Portsmouth Football Club faced a winding up order from
the UK tax office despite playing in one of the most lucrative leagues in the
world The English Premier League. The club only avoided closure by
entering into administration with debts estimated to be over 100 million
pounds. They have since dropped to the third tier of English football. A host
of Spanish football clubs have overspent and incurred large outstanding tax
bills despite the countrys dire economic circumstances.
UEFA is currently implementing a new set of Financial Fair Play rules aimed at
stopping, as UEFA President Michel Platini described it financial doping.
The idea is clubs are prevented from making huge losses in pursuit of glory,
at the risk of their financial stability.
However, the rules have been accused of endangering competitive balance,
further entrenching the division between the rich and the poor clubs.
What are the rules saying? They are saying dont behave like a sugar
daddy, says Mavroidis. The statutory objective is clearly financial stability.
It has nothing to do with competitive balance.

You wont have the new kid on the block, the next Manchester City, who
received massive investment in 2008. Theyve since own the Premiership
and the FA Cup and are now regarded as the one of the richest clubs in the
The established elite have the infrastructure in place to generate further
income through global sponsorship because of international television
exposure. Clubs lower down the league dont have such opportunities.
I think many of us are happiest when the underdog wins, says Professor
Sven Steinmo, an expert in politics and evolutionary theory. As more and
more money comes into the game that becomes less and less plausible, and
as more and more money comes into the game the leaders at FIFA (world
footballs governing body) have fewer incentives to make the game a fair
There seems little doubt the vast sums invested by so called sugar daddies
distort the market. But general investment can benefit sport in general,
raising standards on the field and improving the experience of the viewing
public off it.
There is a lot of money in sport. I dont think it ruins it. At every level sport
is practiced in the US and the quality goes up year on year, says Mavroidis.
Money is a means. You can use money to make sport very attractive. We
just need the proper regulatory framework within which cash injections have
a happy marriage with sport.
Teetering on the edge
However the warnings signs of moneys corrupting influence are stark. Last
year Lance Armstrong faced global revulsion when it was revealed the record
holding cycling had been involved in what was called the most sophisticated
doping programme ever.
Lance Armstrong didnt ruin cycling, states Steinmo. It was the amount of
money involved that made it worth taking the risk. Worth being corrupted
Corruption in its more traditional guise is also increasingly encroaching on to
the playing field. Italian football is still recovering from the extensive match
fixing revelations that saw the countrys biggest club Juventus, relegated to
the second tier and stripped of two titles for their part in the scandal.

Sports such cricket, lower league football and rugby are increasingly
susceptible to so called spot fixing. Spot fixing involves betting on the timing
or quantity of minute details of a match, such as the timing of a throw in or
yellow card. Vast sums of money are then bet on the event, raising
suspicions of money laundering.
As in sport so too in life
Ultimately whether you feel the amount of money in sport has a detrimental
effect depends on how you view sport. If you regard its activities as the same
as any other entertainment then increased investment helps to create a
greater end product which will ultimately attract more fans which in turn
generates more income to even further enhance the product.
With the concentration of funds at the top of the game the quality of games
between those teams would improve, but the local teams are likely to be
squeezed out. There is something about having a local team and being a
fan of that team, a shared local identity that I think is valuable, says
Steinmo. It is hard to put a monetary value on that, but it is there.
Research in the social sciences continues to show equality rather than wealth
is a more accurate indicator of happiness in societies. We all want more
money, but the correlation between GDP per capita and happiness is almost
non-existent, says Steinmo.
Those places with higher levels of inequality tend to be unhappier. Similarly
it is more fun to watch a match, league or tournament where more
competitors have a chance to win, where there is an element of
unpredictability about results.
Ultimately the sports industrys commodity is competition. Once genuine
competition is lost, so is the appeal.
It is not the money that is the problem, its the inequality. Inequality is
ruining our society. Football and sport is just one of the places you see it
happening, says Steinmo. A tiny elite has a disproportionate amount of
power. Sport should be the ultimate place where a talented kid who works
hard should be able to make it.
Sport should be fair, and I dont think it is anymore.

* Sven Steinmo holds the Chair in Public Policy and Political Economy at the
EUI. He is currently working on a project called Willing to Pay? Testing
Institutional Theories with Experiments which examines differences tax
compliance in several advanced industrial democracies. The project looks at
tax compliance and cultural variation in Sweden, England, Italy, the United
States, and Romania.
*Petros Mavroidis is a Professor of Global and Regional Economic Law at the
EUI and is currently working a book regarding the evolution of disciplines
regulating trade in goods back to the inception of the multilateral trading