I’m sure there is no need for me to begin this piece by recollecting the ‘Sterling saga’, as it has been plastered across our news feeds for what now seems an eternity.
However, with a 20-year-old beginning only his third Premier League campaign, and having been to just one major international tournament, snubbing a new contract of £100,000 at one of the largest football clubs in history, I feel that perhaps ironically, the sport’s governing body need to address the financial position that the game now appears to be in. There is an evident lack of love that players at all stages of their careers now feel for the game.
I’m assured that I cannot be alone in holding the belief that the introduction of a wage cap, seen prevalently in rugby could only bring benefit to the great game that so many feel so passionate about.
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Regular viewers of the Aviva Premiership will serve to reassure football fans that the level of rugby they see week-in, week-out, has far from weakened as a result of the Premiership salary cap that was introduced in 1999.
You could now stop and turn to the UEFA Financial Fair Play system, but those of us who have a more than basic knowledge of the subject will surely recognise that this system has little meaningful interest to clubs across the European Continent, as we have seen all too clearly with Barcelona snubbing their FIFA imposed transfer ban to sign Aleix Vidal from Sevilla.
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The most popular sport in the world has become a business to those in positions of the greatest influence to its future. Players and officials, along with chairman and owners, across the globe are increasingly using the sport to simply enhance their bank balances.
By limiting the amount that is spent on clubs prize possessions, the extortionate demand on fans to watch their sides play would no longer be as vital as they would no longer be the ones paying such large sums of the players’ salaries. As for players like Manchester City’s new England starlet, we may witness players earning the money that their talents truly warrant, rather than young athletes gaining the perception that they have ‘made it’ far before this is justifiably the case.
This view can also be supported by the criticism that Jose Mourinho directed towards his 19-year-old star Reuben Loftus-Cheek during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Australia. As The Guardian outlined in June of this year, Mourinho stated that Loftus-Cheek needed to “understand what it takes to play for us” after the youngster's lacklustre off-the-ball display against Sydney FC.