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Top earners take no cut; media attack, gambling firms lose money

By Tony Attwood and Christophe Jost

So we have had weeks and weeks of pretending nothing is happening, or if it is happening it is only those silly foreign people getting into a tiz, while we English know that it is all alright, and indeed it would all be fine in Europe if only those overseas types would learn a bit of self-control.

Or something like that.

And then, within a matter of days, everything is in turmoil.  Suddenly the ever dozing and indeed dozy media has realised that actually, something is a bit wrong with football, and not just that the clubs are running out of money.  Oh no, it is more than that because there is a… wait for it… a

MORAL ISSUE.

Now if you have just fallen out of your chair we sympathise.  In fact Untold had to get extra insurance before writing the words MORAL ISSUE (phew there it is again, need to sit down now) in terms of something to do with football.

Of course, not everyone has got it.  Here are the top Arsenal stories as this article is being written…

  • Lionel Messi says £53m man reportedly wanted by Arsenal and Spurs is ‘magical’ (The Boot Room)
  • Arsenal landing bargain deal for PSG star could allow them to cash in on under-performing Wenger signing (Read Arsenal)
  • Player ‘already has’ offer from Arsenal – Gunners waiting for COVID-19 crisis to end to start… (Sport Witness)
  • Arsenal make transfer offer for £35m midfielder to replace Dani Ceballos (Metro)
  • Arsenal leading chase for ‘one of the best defenders in the world’? (Just Arsenal News)

Crisis? Err, not here mate.

And yet in the foreign media one of the major stories is that,  “The coronavirus crisis is undermining an institution across the Channel.  There could be many bankruptcies.”

Yes that is the Europeans looking at the English.

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And that institution is gambling.   There is no football, so the gambling revenues are right down.  Gambling firms are the backbone of financing football, and so clubs are losing yet another source of income.   And yes before you write in, we do know that Untold takes gambling adverts too.  Gambling firms help to keep this blog alive, because although it might not seem like it, it does cost money to run a blog like this.

The growing presence of bookmakers as club sponsors is controversial, of that there is no doubt.  But before today, there has not been much moral outrage.

But now we do have moral outrage of a different type – over the cutting of the wage packets of non-playing staff while top paid people like players and the boss of Tottenham keep their money.  So clubs are being accused of living in a moral vacuum.   It can only be a matter of moments before one of the multi-million pound a year people in football says that it is right to cut the salaries of the lower-paid because otherwise, they’ll only gamble it all away – presumably through the sponsors of the football clubs.

So we now know, Tottenham have reduced the wages of their 550 non-football staff by 20%, Newcastle and Norwich are furloughing.  In short the taxpayer is paying.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said on the BBC, “Highly-paid football players are people who can carry the greatest burden and they should be the first ones… [to] sacrifice their salary, rather than the person selling the programme or the person who does catering or the person who probably doesn’t get anywhere near the salary Premier League footballers get.”

But there’s the problem.  If the lower-paid staff don’t get paid, they don’t have enough money to spend with the gambling companies, so the gambling companies are pulling out of football.  It all goes around and around.

The liberalisation of gambling in the UK was one of the worst things the Blair / Brown government did.  OK there was a war thing as well, but the gambling revolution was pretty awful too. Something like £1.5bn a year is bet on football in the UK.   Companies like “Betfair” and “Paddy Power” get about three-quarters of their income from football betting.

But what makes this worse is that half of the teams in the Premier League have a sports betting firm as the shirt sponsor.  The Championship itself is sponsored by a gambling firm.  Stoke’s stadium is called the “Bet365 Stadium” in Stoke which is as good a reason if any (if you are a gambler) never ever ever to touch Bet365.   “32Red” more or less paid for Wayne Rooney at Derby County.

Mind you, the government has said that its support for businesses and employees put out of business by the current crisis, is not extended to gambling firms. So one more in the eye for the football clubs.

What I don’t understand is how the bloggetas and newspapers don’t see that change is happening, and has to happen.  The bubble has not so much burst as simply vanished.  There are not even any soap suds left on the floor.

So here’s the deal.  The money coming into the clubs is stopping.  The players demand that their wages are paid.  The top-paid executives are also still taking all their money.   To the previously highlighted issues of matchdays, TV fees and the like, we can now add gambling.

And meanwhile the main stories are

  • Lionel Messi says £53m man reportedly wanted by Arsenal and Spurs is ‘magical’ (The Boot Room)
  • Arsenal landing bargain deal for PSG star could allow them to cash in on under-performing Wenger signing (Read Arsenal)
  • Player ‘already has’ offer from Arsenal – Gunners waiting for COVID-19 crisis to end to start… (Sport Witness)
  • Arsenal make transfer offer for £35m midfielder to replace Dani Ceballos (Metro)
  • Arsenal leading chase for ‘one of the best defenders in the world’? (Just Arsenal News)

Makes you think.

 

 

 

4 comments to Top earners take no cut; media attack, gambling firms lose money

  • omgarsenal

    Tony and Christophe………I am convinced that the top clubs and maybe all the clubs hope and pray that the government will bail them out, either partially or totally. The owners have NO intention of either taking a pay cut thermselves or bailing out their support employees and would rather strangle them that help them. The players will steadfastly refuse a major paycut but might, being less avaricious than the owners, accept a small, temporary pay cut, especially if they felt that that money was going to their employees. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    Here is a golden opportunity for the owners to renegotiate wages and benefits at all levels of their organizations, not just Football clubs. The opportunity is to force the returning or new employees to take a significant pay cut, because having a job will be reward enough. They will rid themselves of what they consider unnecessary wages from marginal employees and those too old to be worth anything (in the case of football players). They will slowly hike ticket and concession prices so as to milk their supporters as much as possible and they will cut staff and services to increase their profits. They will eagerly accept ANY grants or aid from the government and of course pocket the change. Why would you expect them to do anything else?

  • Gord

    Washington Post is reporting that gambling revenues in Macao are down 80% form 1 year ago.

    What are they betting on? The time of next death? Time of next business to fire all staff?

  • Why should the state support football clubs who are incapable of looking after their own finances even in normal times?

    The players, who earn too much anyway, should be running to offer a substantial reduction in their salaries.

    If not, those ordinary[people, who are suffering because of this crisis may very well turn round and say we are no longer interested in watching you run around for 90 minutes to earn (or not as the case may be) obnoxious sums that you do not have the common decency to waive when we are all suffering.

    However, how many supporters are prepared to do that, or, will 6 months without football wean us all off it once and for all?

    There are, after all, plenty of other things in life, isn’t there?

  • Kenward Garg

    Abandon ship?

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