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The Premier League needs a salary cap – here’s why

My Football FactsArticles

By Martin Graham | 21st Jun 2022

The Premier League is the richest league in football at the moment. It enjoys massive publicity and investment from states and state-backed billionaires and corporations.

This is also evident in their transfer dealings in which we see Premier League clubs spending the most on player fees to other clubs. The last January (winter) transfer window showed the spending power in the league more than any other window ever had.

Not many players changed clubs within the league or moved to England from other leagues, but the league ended up seeing a combined £295 million in transfer transactions. This is the most money moved in any winter transfer window since the concept of transfers as it is done today was introduced.

This is not the only place money abounds in the English top-flight. The wages of players, staff and coaches are unchained in the Premier League. Players earn crazy sums as wages. It is not unusual to see a club with more than five players earning up to £150,000 a week. This makes the league much more enticing to players from other leagues, turning the league into some sort of super league.

It also puts the smaller clubs in England at a disadvantage. The big clubs who possess all these funds can easily capture the attention of a good player at a small club and offer him money he only dreams of to make the switch. This skews the balance of talents in the favour of a few and leaves the smaller clubs playing catchup every season.

It also makes the league a lot less exciting. Football is less predictable than other sports because when big teams face smaller ones, the outcome is usually set in stone. You cannot watch a Manchester City vs Watford match and expect a Manchester City loss, or watch a Liverpool vs Fulham and expect a Liverpool loss. Sometimes the big teams lose, but those losses are outliers. It is a fact that nine times out of ten, the highly-paid City or Liverpool stars will wallop the low-earning Watford or Fulham players.

What is a salary cap?

A salary cap prevents all these. The concept of a salary cap is for clubs to have an amount they cannot go above for their salary budgets for players, staff and coaches. This can be based on the club’s earnings, like in Spanish football (LaLiga), and it will help for the equal distribution and prevent the hoarding of talents.

Take City for instance. The Premier League champions have players who cannot make their starting XI for at least ten games. These same players, when fielded against smaller teams, can still win a game for the club by three or four goals. These players also earn wages that are more than the starting players of many clubs in the league.

A salary cap will help smaller clubs gain access to these highly-paid and highly-talented bench players as it will force City to let go of them so that they do not go above the figures set for them by the regulators. This is sure to make the league a lot more competitive and draw fans to other clubs as certain players have marketable presences beyond their current football clubs.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, while at Everton, puts these thoughts in the best way possible. The four-time European title-winning manager said: “You have to have the weaker teams, stronger. That’s it. Give more power to the weak teams. The salary caps means less money for the manager, means less money for the players. But to try to equalise, a little bit, the competition, I think it can be an idea. It can be a solution.”

If you cannot take our words for it, then take Don Carlo’s. The Premier League will do a lot better in terms of competition if a salary cap is placed on clubs.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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