“Those Americans, mate, they play with an egg and call it Football. Must be so boring, uninteresting, I tell ya. No competition, just a bunch of guys trying to beat up each other – Football at its epochal disgrace.”
How much do we blame the capitalist nation of America? We believe they are over possessive about their sports, even though those games are hardly played outside the star spangled nation. We mock the game of baseball to be a travestied version of cricket, while American Football involves throwing around an egg to determine who can bench press or squat the most – basically physical strength as its forte. Such an individualistic setup, we ascertain – so much to bicker out off.
Irrespective of whatsoever we seek to blame our American counterparts for, our egos have to cut short and agree that their sports leagues are the most competitive on this planet. The same leagues we thought are boring, dull are actually challenging, exciting and pulsating. Few years ago, nobody had heard of the resurrecting Chicago Bulls or the vivificated Oklahoma City Thunder to have a shot at winning the NBA Championship. When the San Francisco 49ers were amongst the minnows a year ago, NFL faithful like me didn’t believe they stood a chance to comeback. In Premier League terms, these franchises resembled our everyday Wigans, Wolves and QPRs. Today, the Bulls and the Thunder are NBA powerhouses while the 49ers are a force to reckon with. How did this happen?
Coaching and team management did play a huge role. But to sync another team’s demise to your rise, salary caps produce the yield. In definition, a salary cap pertains to the expenditure capacity of a team. Once a team exceeds its cap or foresees it, the managements victimize two or three players in return to pay their stars more. This way, although the stars are getting paid the big bucks and the franchise’s marketability is ensured, the team loses squad depth and a whole host of things.
Ideally, if the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) or the New England Patriots (NFL) played in the EPL, they would be unceasing contenders yet in their respective leagues, they chronically aren’t. Despite the two teams boasting incredible market bases across America and their pivotal players getting paid more than most, the salary cap size allows their opposition to sign cheaper and equally convincing talent that sets the league on equality. Also, overnight, teams like Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea would suddenly not be in contention for trophies while the progress has to be implemented over a certain number of years. Thereby, other teams with lesser wealth can neutralize this monetary threat.
How does the cap benefit the league? Easy – better teams start winning, not richer teams. Boardrooms with smarter men who put together a squad with a restricted amount to spend will be victorious, rather than one oligarch writing a check of 10 million pounds to bring a world class talent to his club. In the last 10 years of the English Premier League, only Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City have won the league.
In La Liga, it has prematurely been Real Madrid versus Barcelona for over a decade now, and in Serie A, not many teams fancy their chances against the Milan teams, Juventus or Roma. Here comes the biggest success of the salary caps executed across America: since the salary cap began to be implemented, the Super Bowl has seen only two repeat bowl winners while the NFC (National Football Conference) has seen eight different winners in the past decade – the same time in which the Premier League has had four champions, La Liga has had three and five different Bundesliga winners. And we very well know the condition of the NBA – who had even heard about Oklahoma two years ago?
The efficiency of the salary cap does prove dis sentient to a fan’s belief. For example, I being a Liverpool fan would not suffice to watch my team compete for a spot amongst the bottom half or the Red Devils of United would kill themselves before a situation of playing in the N-Power Championship arises. Many would further argue that when a salary cap took into effect in Australia and the US, teams lost their stars and competition reduced in whole. In contradiction, what many don’t realize is that dominant franchises in the US sporting ventures who were champions before the cap came into effect, still govern their share of silverware.
The Lakers haven’t boiled down to being minnows neither have the Spurs rock bottomed to the league’s worst. The cap just gives a chance for the other teams to compete and teams with better marketability will still fancy their chances. You will still have your Uniteds, Arsenals, Chelseas doing well on the top but teams that performed pathetically before have a better desideratum to play for. Besides, how many of our friends supported Chelsea before the money came in? Maybe through this salary cap system, fan bases of other teams will grow as well.
It is best to have a widespread salary cap across Europe or just not exercise the option at all. Either UEFA administers the salary cap system across the continent or cease to experiment it within England, Spain and Italy. UEFA has indefinitely complained on how teams from Belgium, Norway and Sweden don’t qualify beyond the group stages or how Italy, England and Spain have garnered the most Champions League victories over years.
In order to restrain repetitive competition across the continent, the salary cap weighs in to give every registered team a chance to compete at the top level. Moreover, players will stop falling prey to the ambitions of a richer club, like the way PSG and City “extort” stars within the grasp of lesser wealthy clubs.
And there is one final advantage –the predicament that Rangers, Leeds and Portsmouth fans are in right now would never have happened given a solid cap system measuring your finances with stipulations. Clubs will hardly enter administration and fans wouldn’t endure a debacle of their beloved clubs being bankrupt. While teams that have cemented their place as the best in their respective leagues become adversaries to such a setup, the only way forward for the game of football is for the best team to win, not the richest. Money can only be allowed to get the team to the finish line but what in fair terms has to cross the line has to be the team. In football, that’s just not happening.