What Time Are The Chicago Bears Playing Football Today Arsenal Chief Executive Calls For Salary Cap

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Arsenal Chief Executive Calls For Salary Cap

While Dr Al Fahim negotiates with Sascha Gajdamak over the price (no need to worry; you look at the house and then haggle over the price, right?), Portsmouth remain in limbo as the clock ticks down to the pre-season. A business failure is not worth thinking about at this stage! So while we bite our nails and wait, let’s talk American football.

That’s right, I want to talk about American football. Although you will see that this is really about football (!) football. I went through a phase in the mid-80s watching American football every week. It was easy to do as an eight-year-old boy, as it was shown on Channel 4’s Sunday night highlights programme, hosted by Mick Luckhurst, a Briton who made it big in the NFL as a punter with the Atlanta Falcons. I think there was also a bearded guy called Nicky Horn who may have predated Luckhurst and later was Gary Imlach. I was blown away by the drama, but of course the gameplay (short bursts of action separated by long pauses where the clock stops, meaning a game with an hour’s playtime can last three) lends itself to this type of highlights package. Even now, live games (except for the Super Bowl maybe) would be a bit much. I’ll never buy a Sky subscription either, so the only way I’ll actually watch it again is if the highlights format comes to Freeview. The Chicago Bears were my team by the way. They had William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry and Walter Payton. They beat the New England Patriots and won the Super Bowl for the first time in years, I don’t think they’ve done almost anything in the twenty five years since then!

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis recently called for a wage cap in an article in the Guardian. You can read it here. It refers to the cap used in American football. The thing about American football is that the team with the worst record in one particular year could turn it around the next and become the top dogs. Why? A combination of the college education system and the salary cap, probably. The draft system means that the worst teams get the first pick of the best college players, and the best have to wait until last. Now, of course, we don’t have the same college (or university) sports system here, but we still had a situation where a promoted team could go on and challenge for a league title the following season. Nottingham Forest achieved this under Brian Clough some thirty years ago. And not only that, they immediately went on to win the European Cup twice in a row. Like the NFL today, they were only able to do that because our league was really competitive. Today it is not, and that is because money and greed are out of control.

The NFL is rich, the players are paid more than most people can dream of, and the competition is even. Product integrity is maintained. I have no problem with players earning big salaries, but things are getting obscene now. How much do they need? Manchester City reportedly offered Samuel Eto’o £180,000 a week recently! £180,000 a year would be more than enough for him to pay for a little financial advice and be secure for the rest of his life. We’re not even talking about sponsorship deals or image rights here!

For now, we seem to be stuck with a model that sees TV money as the main source of income for football clubs in this country. In turn, wealthy investors are attracted. But more of this money should go towards improving the club’s infrastructure and facilities and nurturing young talent. Not into the pockets of established stars. The level of wages seems particularly distasteful in the current economic climate, and even though the fans no longer pay the players, TV companies still pay to show games to full stadiums with a good atmosphere. Without fans, there would be no football.

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