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A Horse Named Stranger

Football: pool in to the Final Spur of the season

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6 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

 I honestly find the NFL a more enjoyable league to follow because of the in-built parity and mean reversion.  Results of individual games are less predictable.  Any team can be a contender within a couple of years.  Reaching play-offs or winning a championship brings a headwind rather than a virtuous cycle of advantage, and every champion must innovate and find a new path to success if they want to be competitive again.  Perhaps payroll caps should be tried in football too.

I do quite like American football but I'm not actually a big fan of the league structure at all. Teams have a fairly big incentive to just be shit if they're not in a position to win immediately which is very annoying. I don't have any major objections to salary caps in sport, so long as they're not structured in a way to allow the owners to screw the players over, but I'm really not a fan of teams being rewarded for failure. 

 

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1 minute ago, ljkeane said:

I do quite like American football but I'm not actually a big fan of the league structure at all. Teams have a fairly big incentive to just be shit if they're not in a position to win immediately which is very annoying. I don't have any major objections to salary caps in sport, so long as they're not structured in a way to allow the owners to screw the players over, but I'm really not a fan of teams being rewarded for failure. 

 

The NBA just introduced a new system that significantly reduces the incentive for deliberate tanking -- adding a lottery element to the draft rankings.  I would expect the NFL to adopt it too.  Plus soccer still has relegation, which is a huge incentive to strive.  A payroll cap by league division would not remove the relegation/promotion system or the qualifying for CL and EL, which could inject some marginal payroll cap expansion as added incentive.

It's important to note that any long term underperformance in NFL or NBA is because of ineffectual owners/management who are selecting the wrong coaches and/or making bad decisions on player recruitment.  And it's very visible and well understood.  Daniel Levy would beat the Glazers/Woodward almost every season. 

Any payroll cap definitely increases the profits to owners, but it increases competition and reduces hegemony.  And you wouldn't say that American athletes are underpaid.  NFL, baseball and basketball all use some variation of payroll limitations (payroll caps, collective bargaining, luxury tax, etc) but they've still continued to increase the wages to players as their TV contracts improved.  Baseball's long term decline in popularity is just now starting to show up in new player contracts, while previously their wages had out-grown underlying viewership for the past several years.

The separate problem with the NBA is that there is so much money to be spent on a relatively small squad that top players have become so wealthy that they are now choosing teams on features other than salary: e.g. does Durant want easy championships with the Warriors or will he go to the Knicks to show he can take a nothing team and lead them to success?; do players want to be part of the LeBron supporting cast or be a star in their own right?  Salaries are so high that it has freed players to maximize ego/legend, brand, etc.  Not unlike Ronaldo, Neymar, etc. 

Soccer would fall somewhere between NBA and NFL.  NFL has a very large squad so money is spread further around more players.  NBA has smaller squads so everyone can get really well paid.  NFL has a very short season to generate money, NBA has a very long season.  Soccer falls about mid way between the two on both dimensions.  Both NBA and NFL have merchandising markets outside of their local fans, but definitely not as much as the largest soccer clubs.  So economically there should be plenty of money for soccer players to be very well paid even if owners take some bigger profit margins. 

 

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Salary caps would be near impossible to implement in football. Really, the only way it could possibly be done is if UEFA get involved so that it would apply to the top 5 or 6 European leagues otherwise there will just be a mass exodus of the most talented players to leagues where salary caps don't apply. But such a measure would certainly result in major resistance from the wealthy clubs and the most likely result would be the top clubs breaking away and forming a super league. The FA's of the top European leagues are also well aware that a breakaway by their biggest and most popular clubs would be extremely damaging financially to their domestic leagues and as such would not support such a measure either.

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Not to mention certain club owners bypassing it with commercial/advertising deals for the players, totally unrelated to the club the payer signed for *cough* Neymar *cough*

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, there's definitely no way it's happening in football.

Still, I wouldn't object to it. I'm not convinced how much it actually leads to 'parity' though. They like to talk about it a lot marketing the NFL but really I think it's more that they have a knockout system to decide the champion which makes it more variable who wins the Superbowl. If it was just a case of a balanced league season picking out the best side in the league as champions then it probably would have been the Patriots for the majority of the last 20 years. 

 

Edited by ljkeane

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Anyway, I always found the US leagues to be quite funny on another level.

I mean with all their almost pathological obsession with communism being evil and stuff, yet their professional sports league and draft orders are so the opposite of free market and talent going to the highest bidder and stuff, and then there's also salary caps now. All of that make it arguably the most communist professional sport in the entire world - on an organisational level at least.

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17 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Anyway, I always found the US leagues to be quite funny on another level.

I mean with all their almost pathological obsession with communism being evil and stuff, yet their professional sports league and draft orders are so the opposite of free market and talent going to the highest bidder and stuff, and then there's also salary caps now. All of that make it arguably the most communist professional sport in the entire world - on an organisational level at least.

This is true.  American sports are not at all a bastion of free market operations.  They actually represent a tension between collective bargaining by labor versus a closed oligopoly of owners, including periodic strikes by labor*.  The payroll cap actually comes from the oligopsonic power of owners of labor, against which players collectively bargain to set the cap high enough that they still get paid well.  Fans support it because it results in more competition between teams but not to the point that players are not paid as well as other top athletes, e.g. tennis, golf, motor sports, soccer, etc and cause a talent drain.

*Ironically as concentration among employers is increasing in the general economy, the typical worker has less recourse to collective bargaining to offset the oligopsonic suppression of wages.

I'd prefer to see the oligopoly broken down, e.g. with promotion/relegation.  But you do need some sort of closed system to preserve the payroll cap system, as @Consigliere mentioned above.  So you would need all the soccer leagues and associations to coordinate on an payroll cap.  Anyone exempt from the cap can then siphon off the talent.  But that already happens when one region or tier of clubs gets an outsize share of total revenues, e.g. Italian clubs of the 1980s-1990s, PL clubs now, Barca and Real Madrid for the past 25 years, Bayern, CL clubs in general.  In the current system, any club that can strike a revenue sharing deal that disproportionately benefits them, or injects exogenous capital from a sugar daddy, is effectively gaining the same advantage as a club that can stand outside a payroll cap.

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Come to think of it, salary caps would just benefit the wealthy clubs even more especially if the caps are set so that players can still earn well compared to other athletes. The rich clubs can carry much higher wage bills and will be able to afford having more players at the cap limit. A salary cap would also go a long way to help these clubs keep their wage bills down by reducing the bargaining power of players and agents and as a result the rich clubs will have even more money available to spend on transfers, infrastructure and scouting. 

A salary cap alone will not lead to any more parity than there is now. The entire system has to be scrapped. No more transfer fees in addition to a salary cap as well as a complete rejigging of the global academy system. Such sweeping changes on a global scale is impossible to implement which means you can never have a system designed for parity by rewarding failure like you do in the NFL/NBA.

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You could also have a total salary cap, though. Like in fantasy football. Everyone gets £100 mil.

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1 hour ago, Mme Erzulie said:

You could also have a total salary cap, though. Like in fantasy football. Everyone gets £100 mil.

Yes, payroll caps are per team, not per player.   I thought that was understood.

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Still the same issue though. The cap will be negotiated to be high enough so that rich clubs can still pay top salaries. A wage cap is far more likely to be set at around 250m than 100m and only the wealthy clubs will be able to afford a wage bill at or close to the wage limit. You're just kidding yourself if you think that a salary cap alone will lead to more parity. 

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The other issue with salary caps is that players and agents would find ways around it pretty easily. There would be other types of payment and benefits that can be used to entice players to clubs and could be taken off the books somehow. All of these rules sound good on paper but generally its up to a good accountant to find a way around them. 

 

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Seems our first transfer is a young Polish goalkeeper - Jakub Ojrzynski from Legia Warsaw

Also reported that we sent scouts to watch Memphis Depay play for Lyon against Marseille over the weekend.

Lastly,some surprising news: Timo Werner has been told Bayern Munich don’t want him - by RB Leipzig chief Ralf Rangnick.

We are said to be worth £1.02bn, which places us sixth in a report compiled by Brand Finance, the world's leading independent brand valuation consultancy.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

The other issue with salary caps is that players and agents would find ways around it pretty easily. There would be other types of payment and benefits that can be used to entice players to clubs and could be taken off the books somehow. All of these rules sound good on paper but generally its up to a good accountant to find a way around them. 
 

True. And the wealthy clubs themselves as well as the players union will ensure that the cap is still quite high. 

 

It's pretty naive to think that just implementing salary caps will lead to greater parity. The reason the NFL enjoys greater parity is not only because of wage caps. The NFL's strategy of maximising profit revolves around attempting to level the playing field as much as possible. The entire system is designed to ensure that the greater earning potential of franchises in bigger markets (eg. Dallas Cowboys) does not actually give them an advantage over franchises in smaller markets (eg. Green Bay Packers).

Not having to pay transfer fees as well as the draft system are crucial to all this as well. Instead of each franchise having their own academy, the college football program is entirely responsible for recruiting and developing the young talent for the benefit of the entire league with the worst performing teams getting preference in drafting the best talent without having to pay obscene fees. As I said before, NFL like parity in football is impossible to achieve unless the entire system in its current form is scrapped. 

Edited by Consigliere

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Everton at least get a back up keeper for free - Jonas Lössl.

Definetely second choice, but better than Stek - more consistent.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

Lastly,some surprising news: Timo Werner has been told Bayern Munich don’t want him - by RB Leipzig chief Ralf Rangnick. 

That's the first time I heard it. Then I saw your source (the mirror) British tabloid, and thought, yeah, that looks credible.

The closest scenario resembling reality was probably something like this.

You want to sign Werner you have to pay [fill in ludicrous number], I know you are willing to spend big. I saw what you spent on Hernandez.

And Bayern basically saying.

Right... You know what, we come back to you next year, when Werner's contract is up. We are not that desperate to sign a new striker, our primary target is another winger [Sane].

 

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger

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20 hours ago, Consigliere said:

True. And the wealthy clubs themselves as well as the players union will ensure that the cap is still quite high. 

 

It's pretty naive to think that just implementing salary caps will lead to greater parity. The reason the NFL enjoys greater parity is not only because of wage caps. The NFL's strategy of maximising profit revolves around attempting to level the playing field as much as possible. The entire system is designed to ensure that the greater earning potential of franchises in bigger markets (eg. Dallas Cowboys) does not actually give them an advantage over franchises in smaller markets (eg. Green Bay Packers).

Not having to pay transfer fees as well as the draft system are crucial to all this as well. Instead of each franchise having their own academy, the college football program is entirely responsible for recruiting and developing the young talent for the benefit of the entire league with the worst performing teams getting preference in drafting the best talent without having to pay obscene fees. As I said before, NFL like parity in football is impossible to achieve unless the entire system in its current form is scrapped. 

I don't think anyone thinks it'll make the PL a magical league where every team has the same chance of winning the league. I do think it's likely that introducing a salary cap would push things in the right direction. Even if it won't make us *as* competitive as the NFL or the NHL, if it'll help a little, it's worth doing. Imagine teams like Leicester winning PL being more than once-in-a-generation phenomenon. Could be fun.

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The trouble with a salary cap is I just can't see anyway to implement a reasonable one (one that the smaller teams could make the most of) that doesn't completely kill the bigger clubs.

I mean, what would big teams have to do, sack half of their squads to meet the cap?

I'm not against the idea of it, I just don't see how it could ever come to be.

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My issue with a cap is somewhat different.

There's a whole lot of money in the game these days, we may not like it, but that doesn't change it. So where would the money go then? Nobody in here thinks this would lead to lower ticket or tv prices for the fan, or lower prices for jerseys sewn together in some Asian sweatshop right? And personally I'd rather see the money go to the players, then to investors or shareholders or something like that.

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Yeah it’s a good point, that money will still exist somewhere and will be spent on things that give bigger clubs an edge somewhere.

I do think that football is a good reflection of Capitalism in general. The free market nature of the premier league has led to a system where you get a small group of clubs dominating and using their wealth to prevent newcomers breaking them up. Only extreme incompetence can cause on club to fail long term. With not enough powerful regulation you end up with a lot of monopolies and little change.

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