Thursday, May 27, 2004

One Of The Best


Monday, May 24, 2004

Unemployment In the Industry

Now that Houllier and Queiroz have been shown the door by their clubs, they will be joining hundreds if not thousands of footballers that find themselves unemployed. Houllier and Queiroz are the lucky ones in terms of what they were getting paid and what kind of payoffs they likely received for leaving their respective clubs. For the most part, the footballers that they join never saw the salaries they had and definitely didn’t receive any cushy payoffs to leave. The industry is going through a period of contraction. For most industries, contraction means a loss of jobs and companies. But soccer is a bit different; clubs don’t just disappear. The area where we see the contraction is in clubs squad size, going with younger players, renegotiating existing contracts and trimming their back office staff. Leeds recently laid off hundreds from their office staff. One of the fallacies about the fall of Leeds was the money they spent on transfers. Since 1996, Leeds has only spent £18 more on buying players than what they got for selling them. That breaks down to a few million pounds a year, nothing that would break a club’s back. Last year, Leeds lost £49.5 million. And who did they buy last year? Unless it was Pele’s genetic clone, they lost that money on player wages and other things. And if you want to say, “ya, of course those wages are killing them” then explain how they continue to function as a club despite laying of a couple hundred folks from their office. Player wages have been a problem at Leeds just as any other club. The difference was the folks running the club did a horrible job. They may have known what they were doing, but they didn’t act like it. And now the fans at Leeds have to pay the price.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Italian Scandal

Italian soccer has had more than it’s share of controversy the last few years. It should be no surprise that yet again another controversial matter has been getting a lot of press. Many were blind sided by this one. Although the more cynical fans would point to it and say it’s always been there given the calls that Juve (or Milan or another club) seem to get when they need to win the league. The latest controversy is not about expanding the number of teams to 20. The tempest hitting the sport is not over how to deal with the issue of TV money that delayed the start of the 2003-2004 season and still hasn't been resolved. It isn't over the circus at Perugia with their president having recently threatened to not play the remaining 4 games of the season because he didn't like the refereeing. Fake passports are not involved this time around. And surprisingly it's not about if clubs like Roma, Parma, and others should be penalized or even relegated for the poor state of their finances. And it's not about the hooligans that rioted and even set off a bomb at the last Rome derby. The latest controversy in Italy involves 12 clubs being probed by anti-Mafia police regarding alleged links between gambling and organized crime. At this time it appears that 12 clubs in the Serie A, B, and C have had players and staff (coaches, owners, et al.) involved in match fixing. The police investigators reportedly stumbled into this one. They were not looking for this crime, just investigating members of the mafia for other crimes. The clubs involved, according to ITV [], are Ascoli, Catanzaro, Chievo, Crotone, Fermana, Lecce, Lumezzane, Piacenza, Reggina, Sassari, and Taranto. It is a shame that this has occurred. The timing of such a scandal would never be good. But with the current state of the game in Italy, the timing is horrible. The Italian FA should be spending their time on solving some issues that has been festering for awhile. The Serie A and other leagues need to address the issue of the solvency of the clubs. Clubs such as Roma, Lazio, Parma, and others have acquired a mountain of debts and are at risk of going completely out of business. The league needs to address this issue this summer. If they don’t, we could very well see a mess in the Serie A next year with a team or two going out of business during the 2004-05 season. Related Links: