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Europe’s economics killing world football

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By Anesu Chakanetsa

THE transfer business in Europe has really gone to the dogs, to the extent other level-headed Europeans are now realising (like The Patriot before them) that these football economics have the potential to kill the game forever.

There will never be any balance of economic power in World Football as long as Europeans continue with the exorbitant transfer business that has seen records being broken each and every transfer window period for the past five or so years.

At the end, it is always the grubby Europeans who will get the proceeds; not the talented Africans and South Americans, not CAF, not Commebol.

Recently, Chelsea spent about £231,3 million pounds in the January transfer window boosting their squad.

After being forced to resign as Juventus president or after realising that he is no longer milking the cow, Andrea Agnelli spit venom against England, saying that its financial conduct is killing the game.

‘’I’m afraid the game is going to die,’’ he said

“Otherwise, it risks a decrease in favour of a single dominant league which, within a few years, will attract all the talent of European football within its league, completely marginalising the other leagues and the others are already marginalised.”

Agnelli was, of course, referring to the Premier League and, in fairness to him, he may have had a point in relation to the potentially harmful effects of its economic might.

His Juventus side had its 15 points deducted and must pay heavy fines for breaking financial fair play rules in transfers and players’ salaries.

His sentiments were also echoed by Spanish La Liga chiefs who are starting to feel marginalised by the unfairness of English Football transfer business.

La Liga’s corporate director Javier Gomez suggested that the English Premier League clubs’ high spending is killing the standards of football in Europe.

The League spent a record US$1 billion in the January transfer window and outspent the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by almost four times.

In a video uploaded on Twitter by La Liga president Javier Tebason, which he captioned ‘Premier League are financially doped’, Gomez pleaded with UEFA to impose more strict Financial Fair Play rules on the English clubs.

“In La Liga, what we are looking for is that clubs spend what they can generate autonomously. Shareholders are allowed to support within certain limits,” said Gomez.

“In the Premier League, it is the opposite. Until June 2021, the Premiership and the Championship had lost 3 000 million euros (US$3,28 billion), the Spanish La Liga lost 250 million euros. In the same period, the Premier League and Championship shareholders put in 3 500 million euros, in Spain they put in 450 million euros.”

No sooner than these European guys were complaining about these issues, than an investigation was launched against Manchester City which is alleged to have been lying about their players’ salaries and wages from 2009-2018.

Consequently, an array of activity has been happening at the Etihad Stadium, with Pep Guardiola threatening to leave the side, and a possible player exodus beckoning, with Rodri wanting to go to Barcelona and Kevin De Bruyne to Real Madrid.

Such is the nastiness money is generating in Europe.

The Europeans have heavily monetised football to an extent even South American and African players have seen Europe as the haven of money.

But at the end, they come back home with nothing much.

Their package is diminished.

Sadio Mane left Liverpool because he thought he was not being fairly treated as per his contribution to the club.

Sadio Mane
Riyad Mahrez at Man City.

 Yaya Toure left Manchester City a sad man because he was also unfairly treated financially and emotionally.

Even the famous ‘Mr Ronaldo’ Ngedwa Mpako from Mbare will tell you that Riyad Mahrez is far much better than Jack Grealish at Manchester City, but the latter has more financial privileges than the former.

Grealish gets 15 million per year while Mahrez gets 8 million.

This reveals that Africa, South America and, of late, Asia have become a source of cheap labour for players they can utilise to generate money, just like what happens with the omnipresent big companies.

When it comes to issues like this, FIFA becomes mute, like lizard. 

In fact, it has always been overridden by Europe’s football governing body UEFA in terms of decision-making.

According to a report by the Financial Times in 2021, FIFA’s main rival was UEFA:“…Its (FIFA) main opponent is UEFA, the European football’s governing body, which runs the Champions League, the world’s most popular club competition. The two sides are fighting for pre-eminence over the world’s favourite game.” 

From TV rights to transfers to the Word Football Calendar, FIFA has always been defeated by UEFA in decisions.

FIFA’s annual revenue averages roughly US$1,4 billion, while UEFA, by far soccer’s richest organisation, averages nearly US$4 billion.

And what does that mean to the whole World?

It means UEFA has the ability to dictate to FIFA: The one who pays the piper calls the tune.

Europe will continue doing what it is doing unless FIFA gangs up with other organisations to save the beautiful game.

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