SPORT OPINION: 'Cash-strapped football clubs need help in the hunt for glory'
Like sporting fans across the globe, us lot at 7DAYS Towers love a thrilling finale.
Whether it’s football, cricket or even bocce - if you love your sport, there’s nothing more engrossing than seeing competition go down to the wire. Who can forget the final day of the Premier League last season, which ensured football fans had no fingernails for a few days after Manchester City almost threw away a seemingly unassailable advantage over their cross-town rivals, Manchester United, only to fire in two goals in added time to take the title?
It was absorbing, riveting and more entertaining than any of the stage shows on Broadway (well we think so but we will concede we’re rarely spotted on the streets of Manhattan).
Which is way us thrill-seekers were disheartened by Roberto Mancini’s comments last Friday regarding the new Financial Fair Play rules. The Premier League have introduced a sustainability clause that will require clubs to work towards break-even, while allowing a degree of owner investment going in as equity.
Translating that into layman’s terms, they’re basically ensuring wealthy owners such as our old mate Roman Abramovich, can’t just throw as much money as it takes to win the title. Mancini, usually very reserved, believes the new rules are plain wrong, claiming that wealthy owners should be free to spend as much of their wads of cash as they like.
“I do not agree [with the restrictions],” Mancini said. “If I am a rich man, I want to spend all my money for my team. It’s my job.” The Italian’s comments are hardly surprising from someone who is at the helm of a club that spent $313.5 million on staff wages during their title year. However, we doubt the 48-year-old would share that same belief if his next stint in charge is at a minnow club such as Reading or Wigan.
If you take a look at the Premier League champions since it’s inaugural season in 1992-93 until City’s drought-breaking title last year, Blackburn Rovers (94-95) are the only team outside of Manchester United (12 wins), Chelsea (three), and Arsenal (three), to lift the trophy.
That is quite frankly boring.
Compare that to other sporting leagues around the globe; the NFL and AFL both have a salary cap, and it’s clear that having financial parity, plus a player draft system, equals opportunity for all to succeed and better entertainment as a result. The NFL introduced their cap for the 1994 season and since then 12 have gone on to Super Bowl glory, while in Aussie Rules, Australia’s most popular sport, which introduced the cap in 1987, 11 clubs have been crowned Premiers.
So, the bottom line is, while we don’t begrudge the billionaire owners their success, what we as fans want is to be able to enter the season knowing that a host, not just a handful, of clubs can be No.1 at the end of the season. Czech distance running legend, Emil Zatopek once said: “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”
We couldn’t agree more.
WARNIE WAY OFF THE MARK
Last week we had a dig at one of our all-time heroes, Shane Warne. We decided to bowl a bouncer at the spin king after he felt the need to issue a manifesto to save Australian cricket as it is apparently in “disarray”. Well, one week on, and with Cricket Australia all but ignoring ‘Warnie’, the Aussies’ one-day outfit have just thrashed a useful West Indies side 5-0. Shane, we think the phrase you should be looking for is: “crisis, what crisis?”