Exclusive: Wage War In English Football

This week there has been a lot of talk about Atletico Madrid's Sergio Aguero being on wages of £210,000 a week. He is rumoured to have settled for £156,000 with Manchester City. It is of course such a massive amount of money but I'm glad that the player has shown a willingness to drop his demands.

We have a slight issue in England with regards to tax. The majority of players abroad are paid net and it is a massive shock when you have to explain to them that they will lose 50 per cent of their wages when they play in the UK. This does highlight the inflation of wages, however. Carlos Tevez supposedly earning close to £250,000 a week in his new contract signed last season is a milestone, as was his £200,000 contract signed a year before.

To put this into perspective, the average wage in the Premier League last season is a reported £33,000 per week, a long way from George Best earning £1,000 per week in 1968. The progression has taken a while but of course the creation of the Premier League sped things up. In ‘92 John Barnes picked up £10,000 per week, in ‘99 Roy Keane £50,000 per week, in 2001 Sol Campbell received £100,000 and last year there was Tevez with £200,000. The scale is forever increasing and I'm not sure it will stop.

TV money seems to have hit a plateau, for now. The new ‘Salary Costs Management Protocol’ (SCMP) will try to curb the growth, or at least make it controllable by the clubs. This basic, wages versus revenue system should be employed throughout the English Football League by 2014. Premier League teams already have to adhere to UEFA's rules if they want to compete in UEFA competitions. However, the teams that are fighting for relegation have no need to apply.

Last season every club applied apart from Blackpool. Blackpool were very sensible last season, employing a £10,000 maximum wage ceiling, and very nearly stayed up. League Two already employ the SCMP system, League One have agreed to do something similar this season, and The Championship hope to have it in place for next season. League Two was 60 per cent wages against revenue last season and 55 per cent this season. It is similar to what the top clubs have to adhere to when entering UEFA's competitions.

The wages versus revenue rules and regulations will always be tested by clubs and people will be employed to ensure that ways are found so that everything is maximised without breaking the regulations. You can always see why people question the £400m deal done between Etihad and Manchester City, as this will make it a lot easier for them to spend more on wages. The debate is why not?

If the club generates the money then why not spend the money on wages and better players? That's life. Some people make more money than others and can therefore spend more, however, it does need to be controlled.

Perhaps there's a lot we can learn from other sports, believe it or not the Premier League is not the highest paid sport in the world. In 2009 there were only two Premier League teams in the top 30 teams in the world based on average salaries. Manchester United at No 14 and Chelsea at No 4. The respective average wages were £55,000 and £70,000 a week. In 2009 the New York Yankees averaged £90,000 a week, with Alex Rodriguez paid £20m per year!

Eclusively by Sam Stapleton, an English FA licensed players’ agent and co-founder of Star Management Signings Ltd.

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