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Football: 100% Capitalism, 0% Sport

Real Madrid have just signed a World Record/monumental/earth shattering transfer deal for Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale, worth £85.3m (€100.07m). In a move which many people gawk at, I feel extremely baffled to understand how such a pay out can originate from one of the EU’s most debt ridden countries.

The man of the hour, with a salary almost 13 times the GDP per capita in Spain. (Photo credit: TottenhamFan

I will firstly have to confess that I plagiarised 90% of the first sentence from a BBC article – I never had a keen interest in sport, so subsequently my vocabulary lacks the necessary sport related jargon! Secondly, I will stick to key facts in this post, to highlight the salient points which I wish to make:

  • Late 2008 – Spain officially enters a recession
  • In 2009, Real Madrid borrowed €76.5m (£67m) to pay the transfer fees for both Ronaldo and Kaka from a bank which has since been renamed as Bankia.
  • In 2011, this loan placed Cristiano Ronaldo (an actual human being) as ‘collateral’ should both Bankia and Real Madrid go belly up – IE Cristiano Ronaldo would end up being ‘owned’ by the European Central Bank (ECB) – very ethically confusing?
  • Dec 2011 – Austerity measures are put into place to save the country €8.9b, whilst ALSO increasing taxes to accumulate a further €6b
  • May 2012 – Bankia asks for €19b state rescue (must have run out of football players at this point it seems)
  • June 2012 – Spain receives a €100b bailout from the EU
  • Sep 2013 – Real Madrid purchase Bale for €100m – how did they manage to bounce back from near bankruptcy and accumulate that much money in two years?

Spain current unemployment rate = 26.6% (meaning that a total of 5.98 million people)

Gareth Bale’s weekly salary at Real Madrid = €351,950 (£300,000)

Can such ridiculously expensive transfers and wages be ever justifiable in today’s current economic climate, when countries keep dropping like flies? People may say that ‘he earned it’, but I find it hard to understand how one individual is getting paid so much for just kicking a ball. Someone enlighten me, please.

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