“Sporting Socialism”


I don’t usually have anything to say about sport. Infact I prefer to avoid thinking about it altogether.

However, the BBC sports editor Mihir Bose (who usually only attracts my attention through his slightly pompous style of reporting) wrote up an interesting piece on the recent Super Bowl over in the States.

I had no idea that the National (American!) Football League is set up so that all the teams share revenues from the sport equally amongst themselves. The aim of this is to maintain a competitive balance between the teams. In addition there is a salary cap the teams need to abide by. It is apparently around $116 million per team. Mihir Bose described this system as a form of “sporting socialism”.

The best thing about the 2009 Super Bowl - Bruce Springsteen at half time

The best thing about the 2009 Super Bowl - Bruce Springsteen at half time

Could such a model of strict regulation, which encourages equality of opportunity and makes the outcome of sporting competitions less determined by financial resources, be imported over here, where the English Premier League is dominated by a handful of grossly wealthy football clubs hording all the top players by paying them extravagant amounts?

I guess the problem would be that, unlike American football, our version of the game is fun to watch and is therefore popular around the world. If a salaray cap/maximum wage was introduced here then there is a risk that all the top talent would simply migrate to football clubs in other countries.

But in this time of increasing state intervention perhaps this is something to think about. If it helps the fortunes of Raith Rovers FC then surely Gordon will listen!

Captain Jako



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