FA chairman David Treisman mentioned introducing a salary cap, to combat the “very tangible dangers” of the current financial climate. Premier League clubs have a combined £3 billion of debt. But, is wage expenditure really the most prominent issue?
Yes, players make an absurd amount of money for wearing short pants and playing a kid’s game. However, wages are not driving debt.
In the 2007-8 season, Kaka was the highest paid player in the world, earning just over £7m in salary per year. John Terry, the highest paid player in England that season, earned roughly £6.5m. It’s not a small sum, but, in an environment where a middling player, such as David Bentley, commands a £17m transfer fee, it’s not a particularly significant one.
Moreover, if compared to American sports, football salaries are, if anything, undervalued compared to the revenue earned by Premier League clubs.
There are far more significant debt factors.
American purchases of Manchester United and Liverpool, funded by credit, saddled those clubs with hundreds of millions of debt. Arsenal assumed hundreds of millions of debt with the construction of the Emirates stadium. Chelsea spend profligately, funded by an oil-rich sugar daddy.
A salary cap might earn the FA brownie points with embittered fans (and owners), but it’s not a sensible mechanism to combat debt.