Football Resolution ~ drastic steps are needed to save football
posted on Saturday, June 13, 2009 04:20 AM
It is hard to pin-point the actual moment when football broke-free and now continues to evolve its own limitations, but one thing is for certain. The transfers of Berbatov and Robihno refocused our attentions on the worrying financial instability and fluctuations of the English Premier League. However, this is not just about football in England but on a wider global scale. The recent transfers made by Real Madrid have sent alarm bells throughout the football world. One wonders how is it possible for a club in the midst of a global financial meltdown be able to break the world transfer record (which was previously their own with the purchase of Zidane) not once but twice in the space of two weeks. Kaka, from AC Milan for 59 million pounds was then eclipsed by the inevitable purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo, for a shocking 80 million pounds. Two players costing the best part of 140 million British pounds sterling, and how much of that is going to be pumped back into community projects or charitable organizations both at home and abroad? Absolutely nothing!
Football is becoming ridiculous, and us the fans need to demand change! Don’t get me wrong, I love football, it has formed a main part of my life and perhaps forever will. As Gunners’ fans like to say. “There is only one Arsene Wenger, football is our religion, and Thierry Henry our my god”. The good old days when being a Junior Gunner, having respectable ticket prices and singing “Ian Wright, Wright, Wright” have long gone. The money in football is scary and unquantifiable for those who find both food and money a scarcity. I am not an expert in these matters, but I believe the following steps need to be implemented with immediate affect. This is my football resolution:
1. No January Transfer window
Not only will this curb transfer spending but also restrain those with selfish trigger happy checkbooks. It will also give fringe teams a better fighting chance to compete as fair as possible during one season. It is hoped that it will also restore a sense of loyalty to football players who so easily in our present modern day leagues seek pastures a new, motivated by money.
2. 3 year transfer cap
Regardless of a clubs’ incoming revenue, I firmly would endorse a 3 year transfer cap. This ultimately means that a club can not exceed a set transfer budget cap within a 3 year period. That is the say if there was a limit of 60 million for three years, then Real Madrid only have a 1 million budget left to spend for 3 football seasons (including the one commencing this August 2009). It also means that clubs can not buy and sell players for the sums of 80 million pounds. This will force clubs to spend more wisely, focus more on their youth academies as well as prioritizing their transfer targets. Allow me to remind you all that one of the great football legends and still playing is Thierry Henry. Bought from Juventus to Arsenal for 10 million pounds and sold to Barcelona after 9 years of loyalty for 16 million. Within the modern day football arena this is a respectable transfer amount. The proposed 3 year transfer cap will also curb weekly salary payments, and clubs will be faced with the dilemma of balancing out weekly salary amongst squad players.
3. Salary clause
All footballers’ contracts need to include a compulsory (without an option) ‘give to charity’ clause. I would propose that 5% of a footballer’s salary goes to the needy. 3% to home-based community projects and charities, and 2% to overseas community projects and charities. And no, players are not tax exempt. However, players can choose their own project and/or charity. Clubs will also be urged to take up more community initiatives like the Arsenal Double Club.
4. Special discounted family ticket purchases
Ticket prices are sky high and it is even harder for a family to enjoy a day out watching their favourite team. And why should they? There should be discounted tickets for a family of four, and for a parent-and-child ticket purchases. We need to create a better family environment within the stadiums and relinquish corporate tickets which do nothing except serve to dampen the atmosphere.
5. Ticket prices slashed and frozen for 5 year probation period
I also propose that ticket prices should be appropriately slashed by each football club. This needs to be enforced to save the face of our football game. As well as prices being slashed, they also need to be frozen for a probation period of 5 years through which the FA can assess what amendments need to be made.
6. Minimum of 5 English born players within 25 man squad but not enforced for starting 11
I do not believe in restricting teams to the suggested 5 Englishman in the starting 11 concept. I think that is ludicrous and illegal. A player should not be assessed on his nationality but by his skill and ability. However, I do suggest within the 25 man squad at least 5 should be English born. However, this does not mean they are guaranteed a first team place within the starting 11. This will help further promote each team’s respective youth academies.
7. Monthly ticket give-away with partnership schools within the borough/city
Each club should be made to give free tickets away on a monthly basis to local schools who sign up to the club’s partnership. This will begin to rebuild the club and community relationship and promote the supporting of your local team as opposed to a team that is many miles away from you. Schools that sign up to this lottery scheme then have a club badge or flag of the team(s) they have partnered with. This would be fantastic for students and teachers.
8. Stop the Park-the-bus-in-front-of-the-goal-routine
Many fringe clubs or those with weakened sides adopt a boring tactic of playing for a draw with no ambition to score a goal. This brings the entertainment level down and also degrades the value of ticket prices for spectators. It may not change the face of such tactics entirely, but introducing the following will give added incentives for clubs and players to score more goals.
A) 55 goal target ~ If a club reaches the 55 goal target within a season the Premier League will donate a generous sum to community projects. The more clubs that reach the target, the more the Premier League (the FA) will donate.
B) Alternatively, for every goal scored in the Premier League, a sum of 5 pounds or more is donated to a just cause(s).
Football needs to change and it needs to change now. Already TV viewing packages are escalating making the pleasure of watching football an expensive entertainment commodity, which will soon be only for the elite few. The gap is getting wider and wider both between clubs, and between clubs and its fans. Football is played all over the world with a universal language that bridges people, families, friends, communities and countries together. Let us not lose sight of this!