There is a general furore over the amount of money that footballers are paid in the modern era. While there is a great range of wages, from about £10k to £200k for a first team player in the premier league these are still far higher than most other jobs outside of the financial industry. Many argue that health professionals and members of the armed forces should be given a higher wage than footballers as they contribute more to society and in some cases risk their lives daily to protect other people.
However the fact remains that people in these roles belong to the public sector, funded by our own taxed income and therefore, to pay them up to £200k a week would be logistically impossible. How is it fair that someone earning an average wage of around £29k a year should fund such an exorbitant wage for members of the public service. In the case of medical professionals there is a part of their wage lost to the utility gained from them helping people as in the case of teachers. Their job is so mentally and socially rewarding that this is reflected by a slightly lower wage rate. Jobs in the armed forces are quite low skilled at the point of entry and only really require degree level knowledge in the higher positions. Hence there is a high demand for these jobs in the labour market from early school leavers and unskilled workers which drives down the wage rate.
There is a lot of money in the football industry coming from it’s large commercial relationship with companies such as Bskyb, Nike and Adidas. These companies pour millions (in some cases billions) into football for the revenue that football tv licenses and sponsorship return. In terms of revenue per number of employees football is one of the leading industries in the world. Take the case of Manchester united’s commercial arm which employs 70 people and yet brings in hundreds of millions of pounds from commercial deals and sponsorship. This enables players like Wayne Rooney to earn £200k a week.
It all comes down to the realisation that society values entertainment and sport higher than it’s own health and safety. People participate in activities such as bungee jumping and base jumping in their masses and thus risk their own health in the process. The high value of entertainment in society thereby justifies, in a convoluted way, a footballer’s wage packet.