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Is there too much money in football?
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Football has long been a path to riches, fame, and success for the poor

Unlike most paths to economic success, there are very few barriers to entry to succeed in football. There is no reason why someone from a poor family cannot succeed and indeed many of the richest footballers in the world came from these backgrounds. Football, therefore, does more to help the poor than most other avenues.

The Argument

Football, perhaps more than any other sport, gives people with enough talent and drive a way to rise in the world. The game itself requires minimal equipment or facilities - less so than, say, tennis or baseball - so it is relatively easy for people from any economic background to get into it. And by extension, it makes it easier to keep playing, practicing, and honing the craft. Those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of football can compete for places in clubs using their own merit. And if they succeed, their rewards can bring them and their family out of poverty and into luxury. There are many legends who came from humble beginnings before engraving their names in football history, such as Pele, Maradona, and Ronaldo.[1] It is interesting that some of the best proponents of the sport fit into this rags-to-riches story. But these are not just a few outliers; there are so many others like them. In one Reddit post about rags-to-riches stories in football, almost every comment (and there are around a hundred) has a different player and a different story to tell.[2] They demonstrate how frequently players make a better life for themselves through football. There isn't too much money in football, because without it, we would not have these stories. So many children throughout the world already have limited options. Without the potential rewards of such a common, accessible game, they would have one more door shut for them. Do we want to lose out on the next Pele, or the next Maradona? Don't these players, who have worked so hard and overcome so many trials on their path to the top, deserve to be rewarded?

Counter arguments

While these are nice stories, they can be dangerous as well. For most children who aspire to become pro footballers - or pro athletes in general - don't end up making it. The percentage of young footballer hopefuls, in the US and Europe, who actually make it hovers around 1%.[3] So to use football to dangle visions of fame and wealth in front of young people is actually cruel. For better or worse, making a living by going pro in football just isn't a realistic career path. Even if these stars do get rewarded for their merit, it could be argued that the rewards are too great. Why should people who play a game for a living rake in millions when teachers struggle to make ends meet? And not every footballer merits their contract either. There are many criticisms of players who aren't good enough in the league, or don't work hard enough, who still get ridiculous amounts of money.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Saturday, 25 Jul 2020 at 17:46 UTC

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