Pink 'un comes to football's defence
Ever since the Olympics Britain has been engaging in its national sport of football bashing. Endless comparisons have been drawn between the purity of the Olympians and the arrogance, greed and poor professional conduct of footballers.
Now a defence of the game has come from an unlikely quarter in the shape of a Financial Times editorial, although the comparison the Pink 'Un draws with banking may not be welcome in the game.
The FT notes, 'In their spectacular renumeration, the cosmpolitan nature of their industry and the blind rage they provoke, footballers are much like bankers. Just as the City deserves to be defended, so too does that other global success story, the Premier League.'
As for the amount of money in the game, the FT argues, 'Footballers are paid a lot because their sport generates a lot. Fans voluntarily buy tickets, merchandise and TV subscriptions, and much of this revenue goes to the stars rather than to the owners and directors. In any other industry this would be appluaded. '
It continues, 'Neither are footballers more debauched. Their indiscretions just happen to be publicised remorselessly. When sexual high jinks in the Olympic Village are discussed, it is with an indulgent smirk. In some ways, football is an ethical leader among sports. Performance-enhancing drugs are not an issue as in so many other Olympic pursuits.'
Of course, some individual footballers fall well below expected standards on and off the field, but we should not generalise from them to the game as a whole. Some of the resentment seems to stem from the fact that the game offers a rapid route of advancement for those from impoverished and ethnic minority backgrounds.