Sport, money, and how much is too much?


Per week.

That’s how much Manchester United’s 31-year-old striker Wayne Rooney earned last season. He scored a grand total of five goals.

Is it fair that top sports stars are paid outrageous amounts of money most people only dream of making in a year?

Before blaming the teams and the sporting industry, the fans must acknowledge their own part in this. We all pay top-dollar to watch logic-defying, awe-inspiring displays of talent and skill, week in and week out. After all, sporting success is often considered as the pinnacle of human achievement, and those players who win the hearts of the fans are serenaded as heroes and put on a pedestal. Set foot in any corner of the world and you are sure to see the names of superstars like LeBron James, Sachin Tendulkar or Lionel Messi on the back of jerseys worn by fans who idolise them. These guys have worked on their game day in and day out for decades. They have poured their blood, sweat and tears to reach the summit of their game. They have overcome physical, societal and psychological barriers and have come from all corners of the world to play the game they love. It isn’t outrageous to suggest that they deserve to be rewarded handsomely for their efforts.   

But the pertinent question is this: How much is too much?

In sport, money talks. Ad revenue, sponsorship deals, and merchandise all lead to franchises raking in millions every year. All this leads to the burden of expectation on the teams, driving them to seek desperate measures in search of success. Immediate success. Hence, we have clubs splurging millions of dollars on players every year to chase glory on all fronts. But here arises a fundamental problem. Teams are stunting the development of young talent by loading their teams with superstars, thereby forsaking long term benefits for immediate results. The fans demand trophies, the owners want more trophies to attract more big money sponsorship deals for the club, and so the vicious cycle continues.

Another deep-rooted issue is players being paid too much, too soon. While most 18-year olds are worried sick about education loans and paying for college, AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, 18, is earning $6 million a year, with reports of a world record $120 million bid being made for his talents. That’s more than the GDP of countries like Uruguay and Croatia! With such ludicrous amounts of money being thrown around, questions about the motivation and dedication of these young athletes inevitably arise.

Thus, it might be wise to introduce a salary cap, helping keep the players grounded and giving them a better chance of success. This helps in bringing a transparency to the pay structure, while maintaining a uniformity throughout the sport, giving all players an equal opportunity. Not only would this prompt better managing of finances by teams, but it would also prevent the tragedy of promising careers fading away due to the allure of money.

The fascination with sport that exists in today’s society is unlikely to die down any time soon. As technology advances, humans are stretching the boundaries of physical and mental achievement every single day. The integration of sport and technology promises to make the phenomenon of sport an even more attractive proposition for millions of fans all over the world. So while it may not be fair that a footballer may earn ten times what you earn, hopefully, a better future lies in wait. For now, let’s just enjoy the magnificent spectacle that is modern sport.



The Choice

An evil sorcerer has taken you and the rest of the school hostage. He has already turned some of your classmates into animals and other strange creatures. He gives you the opportunity to join him in his evil deeds or to be turned into an animal yourself. Write an essay in which you mentally debate which choice to take.

Stage I – Excitement

A surreal opportunity to join a mysterious sorcerer in turning anyone into a strange creature and rule the school with my new-found ally/alien? Hell yes, count me in. The pure joy of joining hands with a supernatural being and undertaking a wicked act of epic proportions? Check. Watching my classmates slowly morph into bizarre, one-eyed monsters with no hands and legs, while I discuss politics and the weather with my otherworldly buddy? Check. Snapping my fingers with a wicked laugh and possessing supernatural powers? Check. Which one of these humans would you like to convert first, Mr Sorcerer?

Stage II – Reality

But wait. Mr Sorcerer doesn’t seem like a very nice guy. Apart from single-minded destruction of the human race, there’s nothing much on his mind. If all my classmates suddenly morphed into one eyed aliens and mysterious creatures, who would I have lunch with? Who would I beat 7-0 on FIFA? Who would I laugh with, cry with, and share every joyous moment of my life with? How could I forget those hilarious conversations I have with my friends every day that make no sense at all, but never fail to bring a smile to my face? What about that group project where none of us did any work at all, but thoroughly enjoyed the entire journey? I can’t forsake all those memories for Mr Evil here, right?

Stage III – Excitement 2.0

What if I was converted into a bird? Birds are so cool. Flying thousands of feet above the earth and looking down upon all the mere mortals who are destined to a terrestrial life is my lifelong dream. The view from up there would be so breathtakingly beautiful. Swooping down on those tiny little specks with deadly accuracy from high above the clouds with the air brushing past my wings and my razor-sharp claws instilling fear in the bravest of human hearts, all the while boasting enough speed to leave a Bugatti trailing in my wake? All day long, every day of the week.

Stage IV – The Decision

I have made my choice. Sorry Mr Sorcerer. You will need to find a different partner-in-crime after all.

Just make me a peregrine falcon.