For many years now a wage cap has been hailed as something that could rejuvenate football. But could a regimented wage structure really be something that would work and how would it change the Premier League?
Obviously for a wage cap to work it would have to be something that was done on a worldwide basis, but the most difficult question of all would be the level at which the cap was set. While there are stars in the league earning upwards of £150,000 a week, the average professional footballer in England will earn nowhere near that. How could you set a wage cap that was fair to all sides?
One solution could be to have a progressive wage cap as you moved through the leagues, but even then it would still be difficult to gauge a fair level for each league. Take Manchester City for example; who obviously spend a lot more on wages then Wigan Athletic.
If you were to cap wages at Manchester City’s current expenditure level then in many ways the competitiveness of the Premier League wouldn’t change, if you were to cap it at a level closer to that of Wigan’s it would course drastic problems for the bigger teams as they looked to drastically cut their wage bill.
This sort of move would also call outrage from the players. If you were to tell the top earners in the Premier League that they needed to take a pay cut you could guarantee that the PFA would call a strike.
While the money they earn is quite frankly ludicrous could you imagine any other industry seeing wages capped? If there is a demand for their service they should be able to earn whatever they can.
But the main reason why I can’t see an enforced wage structure working is because it punishes clubs who have managed their finances in a way which allows them to splash the cash and bring in players with big demands.
Look at Manchester United, before the Glazer takeover, they were a debt free profit making organisation that paid out the big wages. Arsenal are another profit making Premier League side who in years to come will surely see a big growth in the cost of the wage bill.
Personally I have no problem with a player earning a six figure some every week. The problem comes when clubs can’t afford it. Look at Manchester City, they spent more on wages then their entire turnover last year. It is this sort of wild spending which creates problems.
The solution that I propose would be for there to be a fixed level of the clubs turnover that they could allocate to wages. On average Premier League clubs spend 67% of their turnover on wages, if all clubs were to work around this figure, then we would at least have a more financial basis in the League.
This sort of plan would allow for clubs to make sure they weren’t living above their means, but would still allow for the big name signings to filter in to the league, but only if they could be afforded.
At the end of the day we all want to see the big names, big names cost money, but in the long term clubs cannot continue with their current wild spending. Things will have to change sooner or later.