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Money is bound to destroy soccer/football……. SOON!!

Thanks Kaka, for showing us that flags are not for sale and money is not everything!

As an A.C. Milan fan, and having played on the youth team when I was 16, to read all the news that was coming from Italy about the almost sure departure of Kaka toward Manchester’s direction was breaking my soccer/football heart.

What an immense soccer/football joy to read that our Ricky turned down that pharaonic and outrageous offer.

As a soccer/football lover I’m also very happy to read that the decision is ONLY HIS DECISION! After that A.C. Milan permitted Kaka’s agent to talk with Manchester City, it was clear that the team had decided to let him go. In fact, what team in the world can refuse 120 million pounds?

But Kaka, using his words, decide with his heart!

“Alla fine ha contato la mia storia, dove sono legato e dove è in realtà il mio cuore. I soldi non sono tutto!”

“In the end what prevailed was my history, where I belong and where my heart his. Money is not everything!”

During last week, he repeatedly said that he wanted to grow old at A.C.Milan and his goal was to become the flag of A.C. Milan, the Captain after Maldini and Ambrosini retired.

Kaka made it clear once for all that gratitude for the team that made him famous, permitted him to become the FIFA world player of the year in 2007, winning everything that could be won at a Club level and put aside a fortune for him and his family, are things that are NOT FOR SALE!

What a great lesson for the whole soccer/football world and in particular for the few sharks that infested our world, who believe that money can buy everything.

In soccer/football, the love for the jersey, the city that it represents, the history of the club and the love of the fans, are not things that are for sale!

Now it’s time for new rules if we don’t want money to destroy soccer/football……… SOON!!

I totally agree that those who are really good at their jobs should make a lot of money. And soccer/football players that are outstanding should get paid a lot for a very simple reason: all the great business that they generate creates millions of jobs and it’s O.K. that they get a percent of this money!

But there is a limit and when the transfers and salaries become outrageous, the people in charge should do something. In my opinion, unless FIFA and UEFA create a cap salary and regulate properly the transfers of professional players, soccer/football will face a tremendous crisis very soon that could deeply affect the ’beautiful game’!

In all business activities in the world, at 360 degrees, when people or companies sign a contract, that piece of paper is sacred! What is written there has the same value as law! By not respecting what is stipulated in that agreement about money and duration provokes only one thing: going to prison!

What happens in soccer/football?

Besides the fact that often the contracts include the possibility to be terminated by previous agreement (which is already no good) after the first year, many players (their agents!!!) start pushing for more money or to have an extension of the duration, even if the contract (that they signed and were happy to do so!!!) clearly doesn’t allow that.

And what is behind these unjustified requests?

99.9% of the times it’s another team that wants the player! So, without asking permission from the team that owns the contract, they first make an agreement with the player and he begins to make absurd request to his team or, worse, doesn’t put effort into playing, so his team decides to let him go!

Do you remember last summer the endless Ronaldo transfer ‘soap opera’? Real Madrid, without asking permission from Manchester United, offered Ronaldo a stipend that was double his current one! Plus, even if Manchester repeatedly said that the player was not for sale, they publicly offered 100 million euros! They had the ‘courage’ to say that Ronaldo was already their player, without having talked with Manchester United who, on Ronaldo’s request, had just prolonged his contract to 2011!

And with what result? Fortunately Sir Ferguson was unmovable from his position to the point that he said that he would have put Ronaldo on the bench for the remainder of his contract! So, Ronaldo staid at Manchester United. But I’m sure that at the end of the 2009 season something will happen.

And now the Kaka ’soap opera’ was put on stage! Fortunately in an apparently better way. A team made a ‘catastrophic’ offer to the team that owns the contract.

120 million euros plus 15 million euros a year for many years to Kaka! Basically another 120 million euros for a total of 240 after taxes!!!! More than 350 million $$$$$$ to convince A.C. Milan and Kaka to sell his contract to Manchester City!!!

Considering the world’s financial crisis, this was an outrageous amount of money but, why be surprise about this? Do you have even a vague idea how much money Shaquille O'Neal makes? 35 million $$$$$ a year!!! And he’s hardly able to have a decent sequence of free throws! Any top college player has a better % than him!

But soccer/football is different. In the top nations we have rosters of 30 players at the highest level so, basically, considering the injuries and a natural rotation of players to afford a season with more than 60 top games, teams have 2 super-competitive teams! And the costs? Outrageous!

How does this happened? Was it always like that?

Absolutely NOT!

So, what happened?

Independent of the millions that could be made by selling tickets and merchandising, TV rights to transmit the games in exclusive (Real Madrid signed a TV contract for 1 billion $$$$$$!!!!!) and the sponsors on the jerseys, it happened that outrageously rich people, decided to have a new toy and this toy is…………………… soccer/football !!!!

They buy teams, as toys, and after that they buy other toys to make the first toy more fun. These second toys are players! How much do their contracts cost? Who cares. Let’s offer 2 times their value. They say NO? Lets double that!

I’m clearly referring to the new owner of Manchester City. He is a Sheik. His name is Mansour Bin Zayed. He lives in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, (the owner of Q8!!!) in a palace costing 8 billion pounds!!! Yes, you have read correctly! So, for him, 120, 240 or whatever millions for Kaka, the new toy, is a kind of…………… breakfast!

He works so hard and, we want to deny him his deserved little fun after such a hard day in the desert digging for oil?

Of course not! How can we do that to him? So let him have his new toy for having a little fun, a little…………distraction.

What, in general, is not clearly understood is the fact that a soccer/football Club, in the years 2000, is a business company that has to respect the normal mechanism of the financial world otherwise, bankruptcy, is just around the corner!

This already happened to many soccer/football clubs, and will happen soon to others that have taken a step enormously longer than their legs!

How is it possible that people don’t understand that when these ‘rich people’ get tired of their toys, and would like to play with other toys, they will leave the clubs, and NO ONE ELSE could afford to keep going with the same ‘absurd’ management?

Want another example? Take Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of Chelsea (this time Russian Oil). Even if the coach of Chelsea (Mourinho at that time) didn’t want Andry Shevchenko from A.C. Milan, he absolutely wanted that toy, to the point of offering an absurd amount of money that Milan couldn’t refuse: 26 million pounds plus a pharaonic contract for ‘Sheva‘ for 4 years! Total? 100 million $$$$$$!!!!

Result? Shevchenko almost never played while being paid and, after a couple of years, Chelsea asked A.C. Milan to take him back FOR FREE! What company in the world can throw away 100 million $$$$$ like that without going bankrupted? Only a mega-billionaire like Abramovich can do that with his toys. And just to complete the masterpiece, he fired coach Mourinho, paying him the rest of his contract in total. Play with your toys, brake them, buy others and so on. Chelsea is his toy so he can play with it the way he wants!

A club should grow, year after year, with a smart utilization of the youth players that come out from the Academy. Some will play on the first team, some will be traded to other teams. In the mean time, the first team will get better and better, climbing the standings and getting promoted. More spectators will come to the games, better sponsors will be attracted, better contracts will be signed with the TV networks, more merchandising will be sold because the team does good and more good players will be attracted to play on it and, consequently, important trophies and championships will be won.

One of the most competent people about soccer/football that I ever met, Joanne Scott, recently wrote to me about this topic and she said…..

“One of the main reasons I like Barcelona is their commitment to their development program. You have to admire a club that has four of the FIFA top 10 players playing for them this year and three of them have come up through the young ranks. Of course they have the resources and the ability to recognize talent so that when a sick Messi shows up they can move his whole family and heal him. Not everyone can do that either.”

I’m adding that Barcelona doesn’t have a single owner. The club is owned by 147 thousand supporters who elect their representatives that are in charge of the main decisions. So, fans own the Club not some bored billionaires who are looking for………….. distractions!

How could someone have been so obtuse as to think that this could be built INSTANTANEOUSLY just buying top players?

How is it possible that they don’t remember the horrible achievement reached by the ‘galacticos’ of Real Madrid?

Beckham, Owen, Ronaldo and Zidane on the same team?

The best in the world of soccer/football! Result? ZERO!

Fortunately, great teams take years to be created with a consolidated roster and a coaching staff that know what direction to go in through the years. Buy 1 or 2 players, sell 1 or 2, bring up some youth talent and keep working hard and have clear goals every year.

But, unfortunately, teams have bad financial situations and, thanks to the past foolish mistakes, need fresh money to survive and the solution is only one: new owner! Who could be the new owner? There is only one category that can buy soccer teams in such bad financial shape. And they need a wallet without a bottom. Who are they?

We know really well. Just check who bought 7 of the 20 teams in the English Premier League and will soon buy a few more.

Will the world of soccer/football be able to build a dam against these people by better regulating the transfers and creating a cap salary?

I hope so.

Will they?

I’m afraid not! Please remember what Platini said before being elected, JUST TO BE ELECTED!!!!


P.S. Just a few more words about money. I love this quotation.

“Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural”.

Do you know who said this?

ARISTOTLE!! Almost 2 thousands and 500 years ago!

If we haven’t gotten the concept yet, I’m afraid that we never will!

Posted on 30 Mar 2009 by coachgianni
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