Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paris must have Money Trees...

For those of you not familiar with a soccer club called Paris St. Germain FC, I'll try to explain them as succinctly as possible. They are the Ligue 1 (France's Premier League) club representing Paris. They had some great successes in the 90's when they last had money to blow, and now that they are owned by, essentially the Qatari government, they have even more money to spend. As of right now, they've spent 105 million Euros on transfers, which equates to around 128 million dollars. Last year, they spent 108 million Euros on transfers in total. On a total net loss on player transfers under the new ownership, they right now have one of over 201.3 million Euros. That's more than Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United combined. Is this fair to soccer to have a team spending like this?

Financial Fair Play rules from UEFA are coming soon, which is in essence a way to tell clubs to reign in their player spending. But, these owners know a way to get around them, and this rampant spending will sure not stop. This PSG example is a great one of what soccer is now becoming: a play-thing for billionaires. There are many owners in soccer who are not billionaires, and are trying to fund their clubs only to a point where they don't debt themselves like Rangers and Portsmouth have. While many in Europe are worried sick about debt, clearly the Qatari owners of PSG and Manchester City really don't care. When will it come that this is not OK? Who's going to stop this?

This certainly is within the rules of soccer right now to spend money and take losses on it hand-over-fist right now. But, compare what PSG did in the transfer market to what Ligue 1 champs Montpellier did. They spent a grand total of 2 million Euros on ALL transfers last season. With the team PSG has now assembled by flouting their money everywhere, it wouldn't honestly matter how good Montpellier's scouting department was. Ligue 1 is now slowly becoming what La Liga in Spain is, a league dominated by the few with money and the rest are left in a cloud of smoke and burned contracts. Even Serie A isn't having these kind of problems with the big spenders.

PSG are the latest example of what endless money can do to soccer. Something has to stop the rampant spending. What will actually do that, nobody knows, but something will hopefully cause this to stop. Die-hard supporters will still be die-hard supporters, but watching soccer will become harder to stomach very soon.

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