Its official – this version is broken
The writing has been on the wall for a long time but this week finally announced it, this current iteration of the beautiful game is a failed model.
Just like post Covid-19 life, football must enter a different phase, the new normal as it were.
One need not look any further than to three of the globes biggest right now, to their recent business, to see how flawed a model the sport really has become.
The obvious one is the biggest club in the world not being able to afford to keep the games biggest star due to financial fair play type statutes in Spain.
They genuinely tried but their for sale stars didnt get any takers so Messi shall hit the road. Their debts are huge, around half a billion with one hundred million lost last year alone, and now they’ve little to sell with naming rights to the iconic Camp Nou up for grabs.
Genuinely more than a club they reached the top spot, and have now for all intensive purposes blew it.
Unable to help themselves and failed by the games financial police, now all in the sport shall suffer a little without their special brand of football delivered by special footballers. A period of mediocrity awaits, and Athletico under a fantastic coach with numerous valuable assets will be rubbing their hands with glee.
The mighty Barca, humbled by the root of all evil.
Meanwhile a certain French club are going all out to create footballs version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Their squad is truly frightening, already one of the best, and with some of the names just added will hit new heights.
There’s almost two top elevens in that total squad, they have a good manager, and will truly compete for the globes biggest trophies from Paris.
And now they are favourites to sign Leo.
Across the channel the blue half of Manchester have just spent nine figures on a good player, and are serious about spending another nine figures for ‘Arry Kane to add to their fabulous collection of stars who were one victory away from doing the league and big cup double. And now they may enter the bidding for Leo, second favourites according to the bookies.
Three clubs in three different leagues, yes, but only one true giant among them, the other two being playthings who covet top spot.
Yet somehow it’s only the true giant club to suffer real world effects of some type of financial fair play introduced, and by hurting that club they have probably just strengthened a financially doped up rival.
The games biggest name can’t sign a player on a free contract, whilst the others can splurge the guts of half a billion on fees and wages in one transfer window, approximately the size of Barcas debts at the snap of a finger.
These are manufactured clubs with very little if any elite history in the game until a sheik spun the dice and they got the nod. Outspending the mighty Barca by two or three country miles year on year despite the fact they don’t have as much tv money, stadium size or global appeal.
And they arent done. Star after star will arrive until it’s a procession to the later stages of the biggest cups, with the astronomical wage levels increasing year on year.
How? It might be legal somehow, perhaps a loophole that allows such extravagance to be assembled by smaller clubs with rich owners. But on every single level it’s wrong, totally morally bankrupt and against the spirit of the sport.
It makes a mockery of what FFP was supposed to do, it displays the differing national attitudes towards ‘their’ football clubs financial activities, and it shows the game really hasn’t learned a thing at all,, you can still buy the title or cup after all these years despite being told that was a thing of the past.
Of the three nations involved the French teams TV rights deal would be smallest, they have the smallest stadium of the trio, and certainly wouldn’t sell more shirts than Barca.
But somehow they are the financial bullies of the three despite rarely turning a profit in their existence, assembling the highest wage bill in the sport with room still for its biggest star. That nations football authorities are clearly not going to FFP them ala Barca, they are probably enjoying their time in the spotlight for a change.
Messi moving to Paris would elevate their stature, and bring serious merchandise revenue plus more international media interest than usual, but that’s probably the plan.
As for City their latest turnover was slightly over a quarter billion, and it’s hard to see how it gets higher without profitable player trading but that’s not the market they are in. With domestic tv rights sitting around 100 million and later stages of Europe bringing in 60 or 70, the majority of their income is television revenue. That in itself is an unstable market, constantly in flux, and there’s no worldwide body of fans to market to unlike their city neighbours.
Grealish and Kane will cost their entire years turnover, then there’s the wages to find and that usually means a few pay rises across the board to keep the Captain etc sweet.
How is splurging a year’s turnover in one window allowed?
Yet they might be tempted to go further and land the biggest fish on the biggest wages anyway?
The English Premier league have failed all their clubs if they allow such recklessness.
We’ve got the globes biggest toppling from the podium in a state of disarray hoping to get it’s house in order, then return to the top in good overall health as a club.
They dug a hole for themselves, are at least trying to get out of it, but it’s going to cost years of hurt and pain, years of falling behind the new leaders.
The new leaders being sportswashing juggernauts that swagger around the game fearlessly after ‘the big boss’ got his ass handed to him on a plate by their fancy lawyers.
The owners are not Europeans, but the continent’s elite competition is now their personal plaything, with no one prepared to stand up to them.
The big boss ie UEFA won’t tackle the superclubs, indeed is little more than a figurehead now, pretending to be in charge of the biggest show on earth.
And here comes the biggest free agent in history to start a fresh bout of genital measuring between clubs that shouldnt afford him, but will if they so choose.
For once the Government was right. They best step in quickly before football actually does eat itself.