Monday, June 19, 2006

Blair: Markets are a bad thing

Look at what the populist is up to now:
Football players' wages are ridiculous, Tony Blair has said, as he became the latest armchair football fan to air his views on England's World Cup line-up.
Yes Tony, they are, but not because they demand too much, nor because they are in some way undeserving. It's because people keep buying their 'product'. Think "your" team pays its players too much? Stop buying the merchandise. Stop paying Sky the subscription fees for the sports package. Stop watching the matches that the sponsors pay so much for.

Think footballers should be paid wages closer to your level? Support local teams, support small clubs. The Premier league pays its players a fortune because the customers keep coming back. That's it.

Following a football team as "yours" is an irrational instinct. Especially in the big leagues. But complaining the players are paid too much? It's you who's giving them the money.

Me? Pah. No thanks. 22 grown men on a field chasing an inflated ball of leather? This interests me why?
The prime minister attacked football stars' pay rises but said there was nothing he could do as capping them would only send players overseas.
Well, yes Tony. That's how markets work. If you genuinely wanted to do something, you could persuade people to switch their attention to smaller, more local teams, and rebuild league and conference football to a level where everyone's got a local team they can be proud of. You use tax breaks and encouragements elsewhere in teh economy, right? You're not going to though, are you. No, you just want an easy headline.

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Anonymous said...

The current arrangment means that the big rewards go to the players - poor boys made good most of them. TB could always put in place a salary cap and make sure the rewards go to the city financiers he so adores. 

Posted by Bishop Hill

Anonymous said...

Very true. Of course, I'd prefer the players themselves owned the team as a cooperative,and leagues were organised based on gographic location, but, y'know, not my call at all... 

Posted by MatGB

Anonymous said...

The main reason the pay is like that is simple economics. Low supply, high demand equals high price per unit.

The supply of world class players is very, very small - you need to have the right genes to be good at it, and then decide you want to do it and train, and then actually be spotted as good enough to take on before you give up and get an office job. Thus, very low supply.

And the obsession that large numbers of people in this country (and indeed other countries) have for football means that demand is very high.

Get kids more interested in sport, and you'll have more top athletes, and their prices should (at least somewhat) go down in price, due to the increase in supply. Or persuade people that footie ain't really that great.

Capping footballers wages would be ridiculous unless you do something similar to all the high level executives that earn huge sums. You might argue that the execs create enough money for their company that they're worth that much money. But if the footballers aren't doing the same for their team, why is the team paying them that much.

It does seem to be just a quick attempt at seeming down to earth and getting some good publicity. 

Posted by Draxar

Anonymous said...

Hmm, point by point. Yup. Yup. Yup. Maybe, depends if the talent is there, definately and yup.

What a surprise, we agree. 

Posted by MatGB