This question has been debated by soccer fans and players alike, but there seems to be very little common ground and a real variety of opinions. When doing research on the topic on Debate.com, there was almost always a perfect 50/50 split, with some fans arguing that the professionals earn an absurd amount of money for simply "kicking a ball around a field" and others opposing these claims stating “people can’t begin to comprehend how hard these guys have it,” but to truly understand the economics of professional soccer, you have to look beyond the players' wage packet.
To the average human being the thought of earning $100,000 dollars a week for any job, quite rightly, would appear more than a little inflated. Perhaps few people see soccer, and professional athletics in general, as a profession; they see it more as a past-time, which leads them to question how the players can justify their six-figure weekly salary. These feelings must only multiply when they are browsing the internet on their lunch break at the end of a long work week and stumble across an article telling of how a particular team has jetted off to Dubai for a week of “warm weather training.”
There are more than a few ways to explain why I believe soccer players completely deserve the monetary benefits from top level sport, and to the fans who would argue against it I ask: would you turn down the money in their position after having dedicated all of your life to get there?
To become a successful businessman, you need to spend countless hours studying the ins and outs of the business world at university and at home, dedicating your time and effort as well as making sacrifices to ensure you keep focused on your goals. The same is true for professional soccer players, the only difference is that their "study" is done on the training field and in the gym.
Not every player you see on your television screen was born blessed with silky skills or proficient passing. Some had to put in extra work and push themselves harder than anybody else to paper over their weaknesses and make sure they got the chance of fulfilling their dreams.
So to the failed soccer player-cum-accountant propping up the bar, drunkenly declaring "I'm better than that centre forward. I should have his contract"; on the off chance that it may be true, he still worked harder than you and sacrificed more to get where he is, so therefore why does he not deserve to reap the rewards of his effort?
Although I can't be sure, I would guess that an average accountant makes a reasonably comfortable living, but one that lies far from the luxuries of the truly rich. However, the world’s top accountants are millionaires many times over. The same goes for lawyers, dentists, actors, doctors, authors and virtually any other profession you can think of. Those sitting at the very top of their chosen field are rich, so why should it be any different for soccer players?
After all, it is just another profession, albeit a fairly glamorous and rare one. It seems the only real difference is that an accountant at the top of their field doesn’t get their wages published in the newspaper every other day. If they did, people would be strongly considering following them into the wonderful world of accounting.
If you wanted to be an accountant then, at what age do you think you’d have to buckle down, bring an end to all that youthful nonsense, and focus on your career? 21? 22? You may even stretch your youthful antics well beyond that, but eventually you’d have to settle down and grow up to make it in accounting. What if you wanted to play professional soccer? At what age would you have to start making sacrifices and cut out the childish behavior? 10? 11? Maybe younger still and even then your chances of success are slim at best.
Athletes careers start and end young. However, once you’ve made it as an accountant you can go on earning a very good living well into your 50s or even 60s. That’s a good three or four decades of earning power, whereas a soccer player is considered old if they are still fortunate enough to be playing in their mid-thirties.
In the big scheme of things, soccer is not a matter of life or death. It has no real bearing on the fates of nations or civilizations. It is, in the end, entertainment, and the players are performers. Perhaps Lionel Messi (soccer player at FC Barcelona) isn’t an entertainer in the same way Michael Jackson was or Johnny Depp is, but he is the star attraction in a business built around entertainment. New York City FC can't fill out the Yankee Stadium without talent in the team, for it is the talent that people pay to see.
This is why it makes business sense for Major League Soccer teams to make high-profile, marquee signings such as the two former World Cup winners: Italian, Andrea Pirlo and Spaniard, David Villa, in addition to the Brit, Frank Lampard, who in 2005 was voted the second best player in world by FIFA, the governing body of world soccer.
According to IMDB, Johnny Depp was handed a $55,000,000 paycheck for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film. Was he worth it? I'd like to think of that as a rhetorical question. Who would go see Captain Jack Sparrow played by anyone else? And then, on the other hand, Barcelona pay Messi annually about a third of what Depp made for one film, yet soccer and professional athletics in general is the far greater target of abuse and sarcasm on the issue of wages.
Perhaps people simply cannot imagine themselves playing the pirate hero on the big screen in the way that, deep down, they can imagine themselves weaving through defenders in front of a hundred thousand spectators at the Nou Camp. Think you could do what Messi does? You can’t. Neither can Johnny Depp.
Messi is paid so much because he possesses incredibly rare skills. He does things routinely in high pressure environments that we could never do, not even in our wildest dreams. It is by no accident that he is able to beat five opposing players with a jinking run and then nonchalantly chip the ball over the goalkeeper into the back of the net week after week.
When there is one, like Messi, or possibly just few of a kind, their worth is incalculable. Take art for example. It wouldn't be worthwhile to insure a Picasso or Monet, as after all it is the actual paintings we value, not the cash. Messi earns millions of dollars a year, but it is a pittance compared with his contributions to soccer.
Ok then, but how is it fair that he earns more in one week than a nurse or teacher makes in two years, you ask. This is one of the most common arguments the general public make on the issue of professional soccer players salaries, and is also one of the easiest to explain. While the mathematics support the argument, the underlying point does not. If you think teachers, nurses, police officers and fire fighters should be paid more, then great, so do I. But be prepared to pay higher taxes for them.
The fact is, if Messi took a 90 percent pay cut tomorrow, no nurse, policeman or fireman anywhere would benefit from it. If player wages go down there is only one group of people who benefit: the owners. In actual fact it is in the best interest of the nurses and firefighters that the superstars keep hold of their multimillion dollar contracts as taking a pay cut would mean the athletes would be taxed less, which in turn would mean less money available for Government spending.
At the end of the day, it’s the owners’ money that ends up in the players pockets, not the public's, and if they want to give it to Lionel Messi, then that’s their right. The athletes are paid in relation to the amount of money they generate for the filthy-rich owners. Think of it this way. Imagine you worked for a company and are getting paid minimum wage, then one day you design a product that brings the company millions of dollars. Is it fair for you to still be paid minimum wage? I think not.
Sport is a business which generates billions of pounds with a great amount coming from television rights. If that money is taken by the owners and not passed down it would be like slavery. The players can only be paid so much because the person paying them is selling their work for more and making a profit on it.
The stress, both mental and physical, that is forced on the players should also be taken into consideration. From a young age, the hopefuls are tested mentally as well as physically to determine wether they can cut the cloth. Sports psychologists have long tried to identify the psychological factors that determine why some make it and others do not. Many believe that to be able to withstand the psychological toll of the game a young individual must be incredibly strong willed to give themselves the drive and determination needed to navigate successfully through the tough world of youth soccer, even before becoming a professional. And even if they do manage to make it to the big leagues, it still isn't plain sailing. In what other line of work do you turn up every day and face being tackled by 6 foot 5, 240 lbs men or being booed by an 80,000 strong crowd for making a mistake?
Every time the players cross the white line of the playing field they face a grueling period of competition, with the knowledge that there is every chance of them sustaining a career threatening injury, meaning this game could be their last. As many players put so much time and effort into getting to where they are, they very rarely have a contingency plan should things go wrong. One bad injury and the player could find themselves on the scrapheap with no qualifications to their name and seemingly no hope of other employment.
Imagine an 18 year-old soccer sensation in the youth development program of one of the world’s biggest clubs. They have agents, scouts and sponsors with dollar signs burning in the whites of their eyes, swarming to get a piece of the player in the hope that they fulfill their potential and in turn make them millions. During a game, the soccer star falls awkwardly in an innocuous looking challenge and blows his knee out. In the time it takes them to get stretchered off the pitch, those same agents, sponsors and even the club staff have forgotten his name and have already begun looking for a replacement. How can I be sure that this would happen? Because it happened to me, and thousands of others like me who had the misfortune of sustaining a serious injury.
A lucrative, or at least sizeable contract gives the player a financial safety net should their careers be cut short through injury. As I was on a youth contract at the time, the only consolation I was afforded was the hospital fee of the two knee reconstruction operations I had to undergo. After that I was released from the team and left to fend for myself with little money or hope of finding employment elsewhere.
In these situations, the athlete experiences great bouts of self-doubt and their self-esteem takes a real beating, with research confirming that serious injuries are often accompanied by depression, tension and anger particularly in competitive athletes.
There once was a time when soccer players weren't paid so much money. It is common knowledge that in the lower leagues there are some players on the fringes of retirement, who's wages just about manage to sustain a comfortable living for their families. They continue to play even when they are fully aware they are physically past their peak, running the risk of seriously injuring themselves, just so they can pay the bills at the end of the month.
The same is true for boxing, in which there are countless tales of financially insecure boxers coming out of retirement in the hope of one last pay day and paying a hefty price for it in the ring, with injuries ranging from broken bones to permanent brain damage. In very few other jobs would people put their health and safety on the line purely to entertain consumers in the hope of earning some extra money to act as a cushion for when they retire. Only the very best in most physically demanding sports can hope to have a career lasting beyond 15 years.
Soccer players are sent out to pasture at the ripe old age of 34 or 35, with no other discernible or marketable skills. A handful will fall back on broadcasting or endorsement deals whereas, for most, an uncertain future beckons. A few million in the bank eases that uncertainty considerably and in my opinion it’s no less than they deserve.
Without question, there are indeed plenty of average, overpaid soccer players, just as there are plenty of inept overpaid workers in any profession. There are countless examples of players signing bumper new deals in the summer off-season, only to lose form at the start of the new season and look like a shadow of their former self, yet there are also countless examples of bankers taking enormous bonuses whilst the economy scrapes rock bottom in places such as the United Kingdom. There is income inequality and unfairness throughout the business world, however, to have made it in the world of soccer, in my opinion, there should be some room for understanding.
For example, how many people advance their careers in business simply by who they know? How many company directors, law firm partners, or even leaders of nations are where they are today because they had the right connections, the right last name, or both?
It’s here that professional soccer stands apart. In soccer, you’re either good enough or you’re not, and it really doesn’t matter who your father is. About one in 100,000 young hopefuls will go on to make the grade. It is about time the fans recognized the talent and sacrifice it takes to achieve this remarkable accomplishment, let alone live with the day-to-day stress of their profession, and start accepting that the stars deserve their salary, as big as it may seem.
It disgusts me!
People that run around the pitch kicking a pointless ball get paid £2,000,000 a week on the other hand Doctors ONLY and I repeat only get paid £4250, this statistics just suggest that stupid footballers are getting a amazing amount for money for kicking a ball, where's the logic! This is disgraceful.
They are NOT overpaid
Football players aren't over paid because the fact that we watch them. With every viewer that's the more money that goes to them. Am i saying we should stop watching? No, i'm simply saying that we don't realize that we contribute to their pay. With buying their gear, watching their games or going to their games. We don't realize how much we contribute to the amount that they are paid. They are also paid because they are entertainers, they risk their health to entertain us. We also don't realize that they are doing it because they love the game of football. Not because of the money, but simply for the love of the game, do some get caught up in the money? Yes, but do all? No. We need to grow up, who cares what they are paid? They are skilled in their own ways and we are to, some people are to lazy to get off their ass and go get a job. You cant get mad because you aren't getting paid as much as they are or you don't get the salary that they get. DIFFERENT PEOPLE get paid DIFFERENT AMOUNTS for the DIFFERENT SKILLS that they have and the DIFFERENT JOBS they do with those skills. DIFFERENT JOBS come with DIFFERENT PAY and DIFFERENT LIABILITIES and DIFFERENT RISKS AND DANGERS. Maybe you should work as hard as they do for their pay, or better yet why don't you go do what they do so that you can see why they get paid as much as they do. I would like to see a lot of you try to make it through a full season of College football or even NFL. You hardly get any down time and you are always at practice and working out. Wake up people.
They are over paid
I think the players should get less money and the owners should get more so they can develop their team further and invest in more equipment or grounds where public people can play. Although the player give to charity, alot of their money is wasted on fancy houses or expensive cars, is this helping our economy or the state of the world?
Of course they do
The average week of a footballer involves: a training session, an appointment with the physiotherapist, a press conference and a 90 minute match. And at the end of the week they have enough money to buy a terraced house in the North of England, with cash. The average week of a fire-fighter involves 48 hour shifts, visiting scenes of trauma and horrific accidents, emotional exhaustion and, most importantly, saving lives. And at the end of the week they are lucky if they have enough money to feed a family of four, as they struggle to pay a 25 year mortgage on a terrace in the North. Full-time fire-fighters earn an annual salary of around £25,000 and paramedics around £28,000 – how is it that saving lives, and risking your own in the process, is worth 30 times less than providing sports entertainment. What incentive do children and young people have to become paramedics, social workers or fire-fighters when they can earn more in a day as a footballer than you could in a week in any of the aforementioned professions. The aspirations of the young are shaped by modern culture and this modern culture of celebrity will produce a generation of wannabe celebs: why save lives for £25,000 a year when you can play football for £125,000 a week?
Completely over paid
Footballers are only for entertainment value only. There are other people in the world that have no money and just ignored. Doctors are paid an inadequate amount for such hard work. Footballers are not skilled it takes years to master the game play. But honestly i believe that they are over paid and this is coming from a thirteen year old.
Definatly over paid!!!
Footballers need to get a proper job. They are only being paid for kicking a damn ball around. I mean anyone can kick a ball around. Young children want to be like these footballers so study less and practice more. But they just don't have the talent. This means that they have lost out in bath ways. They will end up getting low paid jobs.
Risking life is less of a fortune.
We all know footballers get paid but overpaid! Think of those people who risk their life to save other people's lives. They get paid less than footballers. Doctors help people's lives including footballers! I do agree footballers work hard but soldiers actually risk their lives for their country,including some footballers country. If we had no soldiers, it might mean the end of football in their country.
Risking life is less of a fortune to pay for their family. Some soldiers get paid £9,000 per year! Some footballers don't donate money at all! Lets take Wayne Rooney for instance, he get paid £250,000 per week. That is enough to to buy a lovely house which is complete.
Another reason is bills. Soldiers don't have enough to pay all their bills while footballers do not hesitate to pay cause of all their money, soldiers should get footballers wages. What I believe is that an average footballer gets paid £50,000 or more whereas doctors get paid £22,076 to £30,002 per week. Soldiers can not even pay 25 year mortgage or even life insurance especially the money for them to retire is very little.
So from my point of view shown above, I think footballers are getting paid too much. We learnt this just today.
A debate we had in class:
I think that footballers are overpaid. They earn thousands of pounds a week by kicking a ball. A week for a footballer: A few training sessions, a press conference, a visit to the physiotherapist, and a 90minute match. Yet they get paid thousands every week.
Yes but no, Footballers work hard for their entire lives to perfect their sport. Most of their childhood is devoted totally to football. Yes, compared to a lot of us their lifestyle is very laid back but at the same time, they have only a certain age to play until so have to rely on a lot of money to live on the rest of their lives.
Footballers kick balls around a field and every week can afford a terraced house. Firemen have 48 hour shifts, go into areas of distress and trauma, save lives while putting theirs at risk and face emotional exhaustion. They can barely afford to pay the 25 year mortgage on their terraced house and feed their family of four. And then look at Paramedics, they go out, ad find people who are in a terrible state, sometimes on the brink of death and they have to think on the spot and save them. Neither of their wages come anywhere close to the wages of a footballer.
Have you ever bought tickets to a football match? Imagine all the thousands of people who have bought the tickets, then think about the sponsors, and all of the people who pay for Sky sports and tune in to watch the games. That’s where all the money comes from. Do Firemen and Paramedics entertain millions every week? It’s for this reason that Footballers are paid so much, the people who say they are paid so much and continue going to the matches and paying for sky sports.
They Are but we contribute
Think about it a footballer are rich, actors/actresses are rich ,why because we watch them, they entertain us, we buy their merchandise . Football is the most popular sport in the world of course allot of money will go into this industry, however i think what most people are trying to argue is that there are many other jobs, that deserve a larger amount of money like nurses and doctors, nurses get payed £2000 monthly in England that is the nearly the same as someone with benefits.
Paid too much
Yes, they are paid an extremely big amount , i mean yes they were born to do it and its a one in a lifetime job but compared to others they run round a field playing and doing what they love and others are saving life! Seriously people !!! !!