Covid-19 is causing drastic changes to football. The game we know and love is under pressure and some governing bodies across the world are looking to implement new regulations that will have a major long term impact on the future of football.
La Liga is trying to push through a new salary cap for the 2020-21 season that will cut the wage budgets of top flight teams.
The Football Federation in Italy has also made similar calls for a European-wide salary cap.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has had an impact on the game, but all the discussions about reform appear to be at the expense of players. The balance of power already sits away from players and we are now seeing significant plans to penalise players while they have no say in their futures.
In any other industry, if a business were to propose slashing the incomes of its staff then workers would be represented in the discussion, and if they were not there would rightly be uproar.
Major clubs across Europe have implemented wage cuts this year, and for many of those clubs that has translated to a drop in quality on the pitch. A player’s salary is reflective of his talent, his contribution to the club and its success, and to his commercial capacity. Clubs generate income from having talent on the pitch which in turn generates interest from fans around the world. Football is the most popular sport in the world, and clubs will continue to generate huge revenues due to the ability of their players, but players will not see this benefit if caps are implemented.
Players have a right to earn based on their ability during their short careers. They should not be punished for things out of their control.
What’s more is that if these national leagues push through a salary cap, players will no doubt leave to another country where they will be fairly compensated and the competitiveness of European football will be lost and ultimately the fans lose out.
Salary caps won’t translate to cuts in ticket prices or tv packages – so fans won’t see the financial benefit.
The reality is that some are using the uncertainty of a global pandemic to accelerate permanent and disastrous changes that will harm the game for decades to come.
Football is about the fans and the players. Salary caps will be at the cost of both and to the benefit of neither.