According to Football Match Analysis, it’s fair to say that most football fans view the players as vastly overpaid. Few would argue that some of the wage demands are obscene, an outright display of sheer greed. Of course, this doesn’t stop the fans, willingly or unwillingly, handing over their money.
What about the players themselves, how do they feel? Well, usually they will describe themselves as lucky or perhaps blessed; they might speak of their disbelief at being where they are. How many times have we heard “I sometimes pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming”? But do they feel guilty?
Guilty is not a word I personally have heard used, still, I am inclined to think some of the contributions of time and money are given to charities is motivated by guilt. This is no bad thing and probably applies to much charitable giving in general.
I am quite certain there are some very generous footballers, some of whom are well-publicized and others less so, if at all. To quote one player known by the singular name Deco “Footballers make a lot of money. If they all gave something back they could make a real difference to the world”. The implication here is yours to decide, but of the mega billions, football generates charities see a mere pittance.
Much of the practical contributions made are directed toward helping young people improve their lives through football. The aim is to reduce criminal and antisocial behavior. No one can question a measure of success that runs into thousands, even hundreds of thousands.
Now consider the hundreds of millions who watch football, many of whom are young. What a fantastic opportunity this is to influence the adoring fans. Instead, the public is exposed to lying, cheating, swearing, screaming, arguing, and violent conduct. These actions are repeatedly justified by trotting out the well-worn line “it’s all part and parcel of the game”.
In a recent interview, the Liverpool “star” Luis Suarez said, “People can call me what they want, but I still sleep soundly every night”. He was referring to being called a racist, diver, and cheat. He continued “what matters most to me is my family, the Liverpool fans and the team, anything else that goes on is not my problem”. Sadly reader reaction to his comments was for the most part favorable.
An expression regularly used by players is “I want to make a difference in the lives of young people”. And yet every time they pull on the shirt they are “so proud to wear” the opportunity is there to make a difference by behaving in a dignified way that promotes honesty and integrity. The irony is it costs absolutely nothing.