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Football. Sweden then (probably) France, a Waterloo double?


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Well, kinda feels to include them on a list with Chelsea, PSG and City.

Yes, Bilbao are a political club, arguably even more so than the Catalan FC Debitcardo, and Franco's pet club. But still weird.

For Ty, who probably hasn't heard about Bilbao. They have a very strict recruitment policy for players. Basically, Basque or GTFO.  That resulted in them being one of the best clubs developing homegrown talents, and they decissively generate way more transfer fees, than they spend. But the downside is, it's super restrictive on the transfermarket. They are sorta succesful in that niche, they've carved out for themselves. I think they are pretty much the sole club alongside Barca and Real, that never got relegated. And they happen to play in the EL in a good year. And you can hardly argue, that the players don't identify with the club. Oh, and when you want to sign a first team player from them, that's pretty straightforward. Pay the release fee, that's in the contract. You rarely see them haggle over fees.

The political level is obviously the Basque seperatist movement. But they are not a sport washing vehicle like Chelsea, PSG and City.

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2 hours ago, ljkeane said:

Primarily I mean it's not competitive as a labour market. In fact it's extremely uncompetitive with the salary cap, rookie standard contracts, the draft and the various restrictions on movement. All of which which is designed to keep costs down for the owners. On top of that it's not competitive in other ways which allows the owners to get away with the inefficiency that comes with the shitty labour market. There's no relegation so there's no real negative consequences for being shit, in fact with the way the draft is structured that are actually perverse incentives which reward it.

Thanks for clarifying. You're not wrong, per se, but the situation is a bit more nuanced. I would argue that the labor market is actually very competitive for desirable players, it's the middleclass that's screwed. The salary cap is irrelevant on its own. If you removed it what you would see for the most part is star players' deals balloon. And the draft by itself is not an issue though I'd do away with it. It's the rookie contracts that are really at the heart of it. They're why it's uncommon here to see deals like the one being discussed earlier for a somewhat obscure player. If you did away with them and kept everything else in place deals like that would become more normal.

1 hour ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Besides the top four leagues, there's competition from France (mostly PSG), some clubs from Russia were pretty loaded before this year, not that long ago Chinese clubs were paying big bucks and attracting top talent, and it's not like some of the smaller or at least not as wealthy markets like Turkey, Mexico or Brazil pay poorly, even if there's a big difference to the top European clubs (also, players could decide, and some do, they'd rather be a top player beloved by millions in a club like Fenerhbaçe, América or my own Flamengo than to be a bench warmer in some top European club or a starter in a team like, say, Burnley or Cagliari, fighting relegation every year for small crowds, even if the pay is better).

The bolded is interesting and I don't know how to respond to it because it's a rather foreign concept. The best example I can give that's similar is when NBA players go to China, but that's almost always because the NBA has quit them, not the other way around.

You've listed off the number of leagues, but how many teams within them in total can actually afford to spend $200m AAV on contracts? Keeping the NFL as an example, there may only be one league, but every team is awash in cash and is actually forced to spend most of the cap. Once you're an unrestricted free agent and you're good the world's your oyster. 

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Also, unlike the NFL, where the sole purpose of the club is to make money for the owner, there are in football, specially more recently, clubs like Man City, Chelsea or PSG in which financial profit is not really the main objective of the club, if it even is at all.

To a smaller extent, that even applies to some clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid or Athletic Bilbao, which are intertwined with political ones, as well as the fact that a huge part (if not most) of the clubs worldwide are associations rather than businesses with owners.

It's worth noting there are a number of examples of teams and clubs here who lose money all the time, some by a ton. 1/3 of teams in MLB (the one uncapped sport) are running at a loss and surprising no one they're mostly all contenders (except randomly the worst team in the sport is also losing money). The Mets are going to lose close to $100m this year. I would say the difference between the two systems is, after setting aside the teams not in it for profit, that in Europe winning and finances have relative value because they're more intertwined (fear of relegation) while here most teams prioritize the bottom line above all else and if they win, cool. That said I do think the majority of clubs in Europe would rather turn a profit and be middling (so spending enough to avoid relegation danger) than not turn a profit and be competitive. 

And if we could use truth serum on club owners I think they'd all be in favor of a Super League so long as their team is in it. 

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10 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Thanks for clarifying. You're not wrong, per se, but the situation is a bit more nuanced. I would argue that the labor market is actually very competitive for desirable players, it's the middleclass that's screwed. The salary cap is irrelevant on its own. If you removed it what you would see for the most part is star players' deals balloon. And the draft by itself is not an issue though I'd do away with it. It's the rookie contracts that are really at the heart of it. They're why it's uncommon here to see deals like the one being discussed earlier for a somewhat obscure player. If you did away with them and kept everything else in place deals like that would become more normal.

The bolded is interesting and I don't know how to respond to it because it's a rather foreign concept. The best example I can give that's similar is when NBA players go to China, but that's almost always because the NBA has quit them, not the other way around.

You've listed off the number of leagues, but how many teams within them in total can actually afford to spend $200m AAV on contracts? Keeping the NFL as an example, there may only be one league, but every team is awash in cash and is actually forced to spend most of the cap. Once you're an unrestricted free agent and you're good the world's your oyster. 

It's worth noting there are a number of examples of teams and clubs here who lose money all the time, some by a ton. 1/3 of teams in MLB (the one uncapped sport) are running at a loss and surprising no one they're mostly all contenders (except randomly the worst team in the sport is also losing money). The Mets are going to lose close to $100m this year. I would say the difference between the two systems is, after setting aside the teams not in it for profit, that in Europe winning and finances have relative value because they're more intertwined (fear of relegation) while here most teams prioritize the bottom line above all else and if they win, cool. That said I do think the majority of clubs in Europe would rather turn a profit and be middling (so spending enough to avoid relegation danger) than not turn a profit and be competitive. 

And if we could use truth serum on club owners I think they'd all be in favor of a Super League so long as their team is in it. 

While there are owners losing money, I don't think there is, or could ever be, an equivalent of Qatar or the UAE buying a club because they want to sportwash their reputation. That alone distorts football to an absurd degree, and it started with Abrahmovich buying Chelsea, but now it's spiraled out of control.

Regarding the bold part, it's more common in some leagues like Mexico (their players rarely seem to go abroad, because the league pays extremely well,  and few of them would have the chance to really be big stars in Europe) or Russia (similar case, and there was oil money involved before the war).

In South America, it's usually the case with veterans returning from Europe for one last hurrah (though that sometimes doesn't work- Daniel Alves was a notorious flop, actually playing worse in Brazil than he was at PSG or later at Barcelona, and left hated by fans), but it does happen occasionally with younger players as well.

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2 hours ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

While there are owners losing money, I don't think there is, or could ever be, an equivalent of Qatar or the UAE buying a club because they want to sportwash their reputation. That alone distorts football to an absurd degree, and it started with Abrahmovich buying Chelsea, but now it's spiraled out of control.

Lol, think bigger my friend. Apple, Amazon and Disney print money so much faster than the oil oligarchs with far more legitimacy. What if one just bought a league? Forget media deals, just owned the central content while the clubs were still owned individually. That would really shake things up.

And another test case here in the US is when the Super Bowl is turned into a PPV event. That's going to happen at some point, sooner than latter.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

The bolded is interesting and I don't know how to respond to it because it's a rather foreign concept. The best example I can give that's similar is when NBA players go to China, but that's almost always because the NBA has quit them, not the other way around. 

Perhaps a better analogy in the US are the star athletes who accept below-market salaries in order to free up money for a stronger roster around them in pursuit of championships.  Tom Brady is a famous example but it happens in the NBA too.  Also players who are happy to re-sign where they are happy and settled without testing free agency for a bigger salary.  Sometimes players prioritize something other than money.

There aren’t any real alternate leagues for the four major American sports, so you can only see this pattern play out in choices by players of which team to play for and for how much, not which league/country to play in.

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15 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

That's all relatively new though. The Heat big 3 which is still less than a decade old combined cost less than $70m, and that included the best player, a top 5 player and a top 10 player. The contracts in the NBA and NFL just recently exploded due to new TV deals and the NFL is going to balloon a lot in the next decade. And if you're going to compare it to the NBA keep in mind the rosters are much smaller and the secondary players make shit compared to secondary footballers in Europe.

Well, first of all it's also new in European football as well.

Second, players are much more in control of their own destiny in football than they are in NBA, NFL etc. For one thing, teams can't just trade a player to another team without player's consent. For another, a player can switch leagues and still make big money and be in the running for prestigious trophies. For example, if a football player in England did what Kapernick (spelling?) did and faced all that backlash he could still move to Germany or Spain or France or wherever and carry on with their career as if nothing happened, except maybe when playing against English teams in Champions League.

11 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

For Ty, who probably hasn't heard about Bilbao. They have a very strict recruitment policy for players. Basically, Basque or GTFO.  That resulted in them being one of the best clubs developing homegrown talents, and they decissively generate way more transfer fees, than they spend. But the downside is, it's super restrictive on the transfermarket. They are sorta succesful in that niche, they've carved out for themselves. I think they are pretty much the sole club alongside Barca and Real, that never got relegated. And they happen to play in the EL in a good year. And you can hardly argue, that the players don't identify with the club. Oh, and when you want to sign a first team player from them, that's pretty straightforward. Pay the release fee, that's in the contract. You rarely see them haggle over fees.

The political level is obviously the Basque seperatist movement. But they are not a sport washing vehicle like Chelsea, PSG and City.

Not really Basque or GTFO, is it? It is restrictive, but it's not racist. It's "players of either Basque descent or players who were born/grew up in Basque country". In the current squad they have a player who is of African descent that has played every game Bilbao played for years now. Also, there was a kid coming through their youth system whose parents were from one of the countries of former Yugoslavia (don't remember which one it was) who was born in Basque country while his father was playing football for Sociedad or whoever.

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There is also nothing in Athletic Bilbao's club constitution that says they are only allowed to sign players of Basque descent or players born in the Basque region. It's an unwritten policy and how strictly it's enforced very much depends on the club president and board at the time. Real Sociedad used to have the same unwritten policy up until the late 80s iirc.

Edited by Consigliere
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