The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


The Student News Site of Xaverian College


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March 14, 2022

Has money ruined football?

Alistair McVey
Brighton & Hove Albion FC at the FA Cup semi final 2022

Has money ruined football? Do more regulations need to be put in place? I believe the answer is yes.. Chelsea was taken over by American Businessman Todd Boehly in May 2022 and since then, Chelsea have spent over €1 Billion euros on players and in the summer transfer window, they spent €424.8 Million which is more than the Championship, League one and League two put together!

The gulf in quality between the top teams in Europe and the rest of the teams is increasing dramatically. The Premier League has monopolized European football with the top teams being able to buy whoever they want because of their extensive pool of money. Clubs such as PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona have a disproportionate amount of money compared to the rest of the clubs in their respective leagues. They’re able to dominate the league and so gain even more money and power. Investment from foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and the US has only increased the gap between the top teams in Europe and the rest of Europe. While clubs are thriving at the top of the football pyramid having billions to buy the top players in the world, clubs in the lower leagues such as Bury, and Macclesfield have disappeared because of a lack of money.

The gap between the Premier League and EFL increases even further because when clubs get relegated to the championship, they receive parachute payments based on their TV revenue in the Premier League 55% of their revenue in the first year, 45% in year two and, if the club was in the Premier League for more than one season before relegation, 20% in the third year. This is increasing the gap because the top teams in the championship are just becoming teams that have previously played in the Premier League. However, the football industry may be getting closer to closing the gap. The plan for a regulator, recommended by a fan-led review two years ago, has been confirmed by the UK government. There are also organisations such as Fair Game who are looking to try and help clubs become more sustainable and regulate money in the premier league.

During the 2023-24 summer transfer window, Premier League clubs spent €2.86 Billion way more than any other league. The other top 4 leagues (La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1) spent €2.94 billion combined, only slightly more than the Premier league. The Championship spent €213 Million, and this was dominated by the teams relegated from the Premier league, compared to the €980,000 spent by League One and the €325,000 spent by League Two. Another problem is that the money spent from the top clubs in the Premier League trickles down to other clubs in the premier league who are able to spend it on talents from Europe who were playing for Champions or Europa league teams and end up at mid-table Premier League teams purely because of money. It is not just the Premier League as well, clubs such as Bayern Munich, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona buy the best talents in their league to dominate the league once again.

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This is shown through the winners of the league for the past 10 years, in the Bundesliga Bayern Munich have won the past 10 titles in a row; in Ligue 1 PSG have won 8 out of the last 10 and in La Liga Barcelona and Real Madrid have won 8 out of the last 10 titles between them. These teams as well as the Big 6 in the premier league (Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool) dominate the Champions League as well. In 2021 they tried to form a breakaway league called ‘The Super League’ in an aim for the clubs to increase their revenue even further.

However, there is still hope for clubs with less money who want to rise to the top of the game. Clubs such as Brighton, Luton and Brentford are all in the Premier League. Last season Brighton reached the Europa league to get European football for the first time in their history. Brighton have risen from League one in 2011 to Europa League in 2023 and Brentford from League One in 2013 to the top half of the Premier League in 2023. However arguably the most impressive rise is Luton being in the National League in tier 5 in 2014 and getting Premier League promotion in 2023.

All clubs have operated on tight budgets but used excellent recruitment has contributed to their meteoric rise. Brentford have a strong link with Midtjylland in Denmark making lots of successful signings and they also use an impressive statistical approach to recruitment of players. Brighton’s owner Tony Bloom has established an excellent scouting system for staff members and players having replacements lined up far in advance which has helped propel them to the top. Luton have stuck to their physical ‘classic English Football’ of playing long balls rather than maintaining possession. Their recruitment of signing players to fit this style has proved very effective. All three clubs provide hope for teams with less money than the top clubs.

Another positive is that experts and fans alike are becoming increasingly aware of the divide and are interested in preventing a further gulf. Ex Manchester United Full Back Gary Neville is a key person in trying to bring change. Neville said, ‘’There needs to be a restructure in the governance of English Football.’’ Neville released a book called ‘‘The People’s Game’’ about how to change the game for the better and talks about the abuse of money in the game and the stupidity of the idea of a super league and how unfair it would be.

In 2021 ex Sports minister Tracey Crouch led a fan-led review and proposed the idea of a reform in football, introducing an independent regulator. The primary role will be to maintain financial stability within the English game. It will have oversight of club finances and information-gathering, investigation, and enforcement powers. Rules recently announced by UEFA, which would limit clubs in European competition to spending no more than 70% of revenues on player costs, are likely to be implemented across the English game.

In 2021 an organisation called Fair Game released a 48-page manifesto with support of Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and 24 senior clubs. Fair Game’s manifesto includes the implementation of an independent regulator, a fairer and “more responsible” financial structure, an increased share of wealth from the Premier League down, changing the way clubs account for money. It also called for embedded fan engagement and greater protection of current competitions.

With the help of fans, organisations, individuals in sport and the government we can bring change to the game we love. We need to make it more sustainable and more enjoyable and prevent the owners of the bigger clubs from buying the best players to buy success. Being a Brighton fan watching Brighton from when they were in the Championship to being in the Europa League, I am fortunate that my club is ran so well and has had such a great journey however I have witnessed many clubs that Brighton have previously played against fall down the leagues and struggle to compete with the big teams due to a lack of money.

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  • S

    Simon BallJan 29, 2024 at 4:05 am

    I think it has. Fans of clubs in leagues below the Premiership are waiting to be taken over by rich folks so they can have the resources to get to the top… but it’s difficult to see the larger clubs giving up their advantage without some clever political interference.

  • D

    DavidJan 29, 2024 at 12:16 am

    Finance in football is something that people have written books about. The writer covers so much content in a succinct and easily digestible read. It seems that the treatment of Everton and Forrest is finally curbing the behaviours of some clubs. This will allow clubs like Brighton and Brentford to shine and other clubs who are reckless to be adequately punished.

  • J

    Jacqui Shirley - OrganiserJan 25, 2024 at 12:29 pm

    Interesting article with excellent range of arguments. Yes I think it probably has but as Derby County fan I wouldn’t know because we haven’t got any

  • J

    James GibbonsJan 25, 2024 at 6:36 am

    The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ has grown wider. Are we talking about football? or wider society?

    In order to enforce change, there needs to be the will to do so. Does that will exist amongst the fans of the Big Clubs?

    If we don’t have the will to address inequality in society, can we expect people to address the same issues in entertainment?

  • H

    Hannah JonesJan 24, 2024 at 6:28 am

    very strongly argued point with lots of facts to back it up! well done!