Posts tagged ‘salary cap’
There was no doubt that something had to be done in order to stop state league football clubs from haemorrhaging financially, but was the salary cap really the best option? To be frank the clubs only have themselves to blame. They have continued to pay ludicrous sums of money to players who are of a lower standard than in previous years and who do little or no additional training beyond their clubs two or three sessions a week. What makes the whole situation even sadder is that some of these part timers believe they deserve to be playing in the Hyundai A League, without putting in the extra work and effort that would give them a better chance of achieving that goal.
The salary cap was an attempt to arrest the outgoings at State League clubs when crowds are dwindling and costs are rising. It was a noble move, but believe it or not just four games into the season clubs who took the cap at face value are bemoaning the fact that other clubs have found ways to manipulate it. Time will tell whether this will add an extra bit of spice to some games during the season.
It is sad to see that already clubs are turning in on each other, checking on their opposition and how they have managed to circumvent the rules rather than focus on their own club; but this was always due to happen.
One area that has had mixed results is making senior first team players become involved in coaching to top up their earnings. In some cases comments have been made that these young players have enhanced the experience of playing football for their young charges and have really bridged the gap superbly between the young aspiring players and the first team.
Yet on other occasions senior players have simply gone through the motions, turning up and supervising simply to ensure that they receive their money. Their lack of enthusiasm has had the opposite effect of their contemporaries, with children becoming less enthusiastic about playing. The trouble with this idea of topping up the players wages is that some players love the game more than others, some read its nuances more than others and some are better communicators than others.
It has also seen some enthusiastic and effective volunteer coaches pushed aside so that the first team players meant their obligations and satisfy the requirements of the salary cap.
This is where ideas such as making a player work behind the bar on a training night and earn three times more than he does for playing as a top up is less harmful. Then there are those clubs who have opted to pay rent, phone bills and the like, it is simply easier to do that than have a player who has no interest in coaching children turning up and going through the motions. Having players as personal trainers is another good option as monitoring when they are conducting sessions is even harder to monitor.
This season has barely started and already there is disharmony, which is incredibly sad, but then again the salary cap was always going to cause some heartache. The trouble is even if the game’s governing body Football West did manage to source more prize money for the clubs to compete for, it would, under the current system, often only reward those who have managed to work around the salary cap.
Only time will tell if the introduction of the salary cap has paid dividends, but one feels that before the competition reaches that stage there will be a lot more wailing and renting of clothes, as possibly more clubs begin to feel aggrieved and whether warranted or not start pointing fingers.
Spin is a big thing in politics and is slowly creeping into other areas of our lives, and probably never more so than the sporting arena.
There were many smiles a few days ago when Frank Lowy the Chairman of the Football Federation announced the new television deal for football, and initially it looked to be a great deal for the game. There is no denying it is a vast improvement on the initial deal brokered with Fox Sports four years ago.
Fox Sports have shown their commitment to Football over the next four years with a massive increase in investment, and it is good to see free-to-air football as part of the overall package. However one has to say if Fox had opted not to take up the coverage of the Hyundai A League, what would they have filled their air time with? In the Australian summer there is not a great deal else to watch, hence many games from the EPL and the A-League being repeated.
Another question that should be explored is if the viewing figures do not continue to rise over the next four years, and at some point they plateau as you would expect them to do, where does that leave football at the negotiating table next time around?
The carrot for most broadcasters is the Socceroos games, and should the unthinkable happen and Australia fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Rio, how will that affect the viewing figures, interest and negotiations next time around? Australia currently has the lowest number of players playing in top flight leagues for over ten years, there is no stand out player on the world stage in terms of the marketability of Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill. So football needs to be very careful as it could find itself in a very precarious position.
This is why the current television deal is so important. $160million over four years, however $12 million is in taken up in free advertising on the networks concerned, SBS and Fox Sports. Which means that the overall figure comes down to $148million over four years, or $37million per year.
Frank Lowy then hinted that the additional funds would be passed onto the A-League clubs to cover the salary cap which is currently 2.5million a year. If that is the case then suddenly $25million a year disappears from that nest egg; with all ten A-League clubs having their players salaries covered by the FFA.
At this point in time one has to question this move. All of the clubs in the Hyundai A League are franchises, how many franchise arrangements do you know where the franchisor covers the costs of the Franchisee’s staff? Surely the money from the television rights should be split on a percentage basis amongst the clubs as is their right, and they should be allowed to spend the money as they see fit. After all it is each owner’s private business.
However, the big concern once the $25million per year is deducted, and let us not forget the Players representative body the PFA are pushing for the ceiling on the salary cap to be raised, and that may happen in the next four years, only $12millon a year now remains from the deal.
Football has more representative international sides than any other sport in Australia, with teams for both sexes and at various age levels, and with the Socceroos games being part of the deal the chances are they will swallow up most of the remaining dollars.
Yet what of the future Socceroos and Matildas? What of the Australian deaf Football team, The Paralympic football team, the Futsalaroos, or the much talked about Australian Premier League? Where is the money going to come from to develop young players before their talent has been identified? How much of the money is going to filter down to the state bodies to improve the lot of the majority of Australians playing the game?
These are questions that need to be asked, as doing the simple maths it would appear that the average young player or amateur player will see no benefit to their lot at all from this new television deal, and that cannot be good for the game. Money has to be invested into the other levels of the game and urgently. The FFA will enter its eighth year of running the game in 2013 and it is time the stakeholders found a voice and asked what was being done for the levels of the game outside of the elite programs, as they have been forgotten; yet without them the elite program’s players will simply not emerge.
So is the new Television deal more spin than substance? It is great that the game is being recognised as having more worth than in the past, but will this deal help carry it into the future? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure a great deal of money will need to be found from elsewhere as well.
In the days where amateur sport was fiercely regulated and players were not allowed to receive any financial reward for their performances, after a game players would often find money rolled up in their shoes from the Board or sponsors.
It would appear that we are heading back down that path in football in Western Australia.
Currently on the table is a plan for no State League Premier League club to pay any player more than $200 per game, and all club Presidents to sign a Statutory Declaration stating that they will not pay any player a dollar more.
The club Presidents may need to be reminded that this is a legally binding document, but one wonders what punishment they can expect to receive if their club is caught paying a player more. If as alluded to a sponsor decides to reward a player with some cash, there is nothing the club or the President can or would want to do to stop that.
The idea of trying to stop the state league clubs sending each other to the wall is an honorable one, yet the current ideas on the table will fail. Sport has for over 100 years found ways in which players and clubs can by-pass rules on payments in order to gain an advantage over their fellow competitors, and no salary-cap style rule will change that; The A-League clubs, NRL Clubs and those in the sport we don’t mention are all proof of that. Also let us not forget that the FFA, our games governing body tried to ‘buy votes’ for our World Cup bid, is that not a similar form of inducement? If so what is the difference?
The plan being proposed is also advocating that no club outside of the Premier League pay any player. Nothing at all. Hopefully they are not expecting that to be the case with coaches, as there are already far too few quality ones out there, we cannot afford to lose more.
The only way that you can possibly hope to monitor or control such a situation is with the help of the Tax Office. There has long been a threshold at which ‘amateur athletes’ are allowed to earn money tax free as reasonable expenses incurred for them to play to the high level that they have reached. This level should be made clear to all players and they should be given an option by the club whether they wish to remain an amateur or sign as a semi-professional player. If they opt for the later, payment is recorded and is obviously taxable. The benefit however is that if another club wishes to sign that player you would possibly be able to ask a transfer fee, with the amateur you wave that goodbye.
Currently clubs are paying players higher than the amateur threshold and have no hold on a player or a right to compensation unless they have helped develop them. By having a more open payment system and one that is done in co-operation with or Policed by the Tax Office, clubs would have to cut back on the current inflated match payments that players are receiving and may indeed prolong their own lives.
There is no fool-proof method to fix this problem as someone will always find a loophole or a way around it to entice a player to their club. The sentiment is right in that State League Clubs are suddenly paying close to $100k a year on players wages to win a prize worth just $15k. That simply does not make sense. Some would say go out and find bigger sponsors, that is all well and good but the product has to be good and it has to have media coverage in order to attract sponsors. Football West have certainly boosted that exposure with a number of options on Football West TV and a deal with the West Australian, but still any half decent players are being poached from over East. As for those coming through quite simply the standards are declining, despite the state having more academies than probably ever before. Tricks a footballer doth not make!
This is a situation that the clubs have created and it is one that that they must sort out. The biggest problem is that age old one of trust, not all of them trust each other to comply, and what is going to happen when two clubs refuse to sign the statutory Declarations?
This is being discussed at the state League standing committee level, yet not every State Premier League club attends this meeting, so having all agree to such a proposal and adhere to it is going to be tough.
They say that success comes from hard work and dedication, but some cynics would claim that success in modern sport can often come down to who has the most money.
The problems often arise when that money dries up.
The salary cap in the Hyundai A league was supposed to ensure an even playing field, yet we have seen sides looking desperately to find ways to circumvent ‘the Cap’ and assemble a squad within the set confines.
The NRL were brutal when they uncovered such breaches by the Melbourne Storm and stripped them of their titles, the powers that be at the FFA are not quite as authoritarian.
Sydney FC were accused of a breach in the 2009/10 season which the FFA brushed aside even though many in the media believed there was a strong case to be answered; It was in this season that Sydney FC won the league Premiership and the Championship in the Grand Final. It would therefore have been embarrassing to have to strip one of the A leagues deemed blue Riband clubs of their titles.
Yet in the 2006-07 season, Sydney FC were fined $174,000 and deducted three competition points after it was found that they had exceeded the salary cap by $110,000 and failed to declare third-party payments during the 2005–06 season, one in which once again they were premiers. The season in which they were punished they were struggling on the park
Not The Footy Show understands that a forgiving approach was taken with another successful A League club when they overstepped their Salary cap limit a few seasons ago, and worked with the club to ensure that it did not happen again.
It is understood that the same approach has been taken with another A league club leading into the 2012/13 season. This club however is rumoured not to have gone marginally over the salary cap but to have almost fragrantly ignored it.
If this is the case one has to ask if the softly-softly approach is in fact the correct one to be employed. Surely heavier sanctions need to make a clear statement to the clubs as to who is in charge and that such flagrant breaches will not be tolerated and will receive heavy punishment.
One source advised that there is a fear that if these breaches were made public it would bring more negative publicity to the game. We believe it would in fact have the opposite effect. It would show that the game is in good hands and being run by people who create rules and make sure that they are adhered to. If not then individuals and clubs face the consequences of breaking the rules.
It is again time for some honesty, after all if teams are being allowed to breach the salary cap and go unpunished what hope is there for teams who play by the rules?
It is fantastic to see Perth Glory in a Grand Final again, something many did not feel was possible at the start of this season, us included. We predicted a finals berth and that anything was possible after that, but in truth felt that a Grand Final was just a dream.
The Players and coaching staff deserve all of the credit, for the way they have gone about their business this season, and it is they who deserve the credit and the accolades.
Owner Tony Sage must also take some credit inasmuch as he put up the money to lure the best striker in the A League to Perth when Ferguson told him he was a key requirement.
There were many who questioned how such a squad was assembled within the salary cap, but should anything untoward be discovered down the track, the least the Glory have to worry about is a fine, similar to the one Sydney FC suffered; not anything as damaging as the punishment meted out by the NRL on the Melbourne Storm.
As anyone who follows sport knows it is at the end of the season that coaches earn their money, telling players who are out of contract that they are no longer required, and planning to bring in players who will enhance their squad so that they can achieve more than the previous season.
This is what is going to be expected from the fans of Perth Glory, yet sadly it looks as if this weekend’s Grand Final could well be the last hurrah for many of this year’s squad as they are being asked to take drops in salary if they wish to remain at the club.
One player instrumental to the success of the team this past season it is believed has been asked to take just under a 50% drop in his salary if he wishes to stay at the club. A very big ask whatever your earnings, and one that few would even be able to contemplate.
It is sad that the club has taken this approach with several players. It is a credit to all of those players that it has not detracted from their effort and commitment on the park, and for those reasons they deserve victory this weekend.
Is it the salary cap that has caused this situation, or is it the inability to lower the cost of running the club? Whatever the reasons many fans will question the true ambitions of the club if key players depart at the end of the season because they have been offered worse packages than they are currently on.
Of course that is unless the club manages to sign better players for the same money? That is one of the great things about football fans, you let a star go and sign a player who outperforms the departing player you are forgiven, sign one worse and it will be brought back to haunt you!
Hopefully this week such things can be put into the background as the team has managed to do for the past couple of months and they can go out and cap an outstanding season with an A league Grand Final Victory
Perth Glory have invited David Hatt in-house for a 12 week period to look at all aspects of the club, to find out whether the current structure is right, and to highlight areas where the club could be more professional and effective off the park.
Chief Executive Officer Paul Kelly was quoted in the media as saying “We know we are not doing things right. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it so we can prepare for next season.”
There are several issues that concern those outside the club looking in. Firstly, who is the man at the helm of the club? There appear to be too many chiefs, and the problem currently is they all are giving mixed messages to the staff, the players, the fans and the media. There appears to be no cohesive strategy, or if there is it has not been communicated to all.
Football is political in Australia whether the fans like it or not, and so to bring in an outsider such as Mr Hatt is a wise move, however football is a different beast from the sports that he has been involved in such as AFL and Hockey. There are definitely areas of similarity, but there are also areas of huge difference. Therefore it is hoped that as part of this review he will visit a club such as Melbourne Victory and analyse why they have been consistently successful, while the Glory have not.
Staff at the club are already disappointed that they have not been asked by Mr Hatt for their input, as his time draws to an end; his report is supposed to be completed by February. Frequently those at the coalface are the best placed to see basic mistakes that are being made, but in many businesses are rarely asked for their input. Perth Glory have some excellent employees who work under very difficult conditions, – imagine having to vacate your office every time another event is on at the stadium!- and their voices should be heard. To add to the difficult working conditions, you have the staff split between AK Reserve and NIB Stadium, which cannot be the easiest environment in which to work effectively.
If Mr Hatt puts forward suggestions for structural change, for example making sure that all staff are located in one place, the big question is will the powers that be implement his suggestions? That could be the key to laying strong foundations for a more consistent future. Whatever the outcome, short term goals will continue to hurt the club. A plan must be put in place and all the goals set realistic. The coach must be given security and no more of these one year deals is one obvious area where we need to see change.
As stated before on this site, the future has to be planned for. Part of that planning must be to ensure that the club develops as many local players as they can to step up and play for the club. This is not the sole responsibility of Football West, it is an area that the club must invest in.
The National Youth League is rumoured to be possibly disbanded by the FFA, which if that is the case will be a grave mistake. It is not perfect, but three years in it needs to be tinkered with to make it more worthwhile for the clubs. The age limit should not be lowered, to suit the wishes of the Head of National Development, as this is in fact deterring many A League Coaches from pulling players up from the Youth team.
For this Hyundai A league season the Salary Cap was $2.3million. Perth Glory being so far from other clubs around the Country, needs to look at using this more wisely. Hypothetically speaking, they should allocate $2million on their 20 squad players. The remaining $300,000 could be allocated to those players who they are trying to turn into first team players from the Youth or outside. You could pay 10 players $30,000 a year, to train full time and see the benefits and work with them one on one.
If the FFA say it has to be spent on the 20 players the club needs to argue that it is essential to secure their future, and also remind them that when they ran the club they did not utilise the salary cap to the full.
Developing local players will serve so many benefits, they will not be as expensive as bringing players from over east in terms of salary, and they will pull people through the gate as Western Australians are keen to see their own do well. Finally as Western Warriors coach Mickey Arthur stated on “Not The Footy Show” ‘home grown players will always perform better than imports,’ the reason being they have an inbuilt pride in their local side.
This will in turn mend fences that have fallen down over the past six years and hopefully unite the Western Australian football public behind their team.
Perth Glory does need a restructure of that there is no doubt, but until they implement a program that brings through and develops local players they will never reach the heights that they currently dream of achieving.
This writer is not a fan of a salary cap in any sport, as in life everything is only worth what anyone is prepared to pay for it, and at times the price appears foolish; Hence the phrase caveat emptor, or buyer beware.
We are raising this issue in relation to the APB Football West State Premier league football competition. Anyone who has watched the league in the past ten years would see that despite the excellent development programs that are now available in the state, the standard of football on offer in the state league has declined. Equally worrying is the fact that the costs of the clubs assembling half decent squads has increased, while crowds have gone south.
These are worrying times and the benefactors that many clubs have cannot continually be shelling out of their own pocket, while the team achieves mediocrity.
We are halfway through season 2010 and once again it appears to be a three horse race between Perth, Floreat Athena and the Western Knights. That is not good for any league, to have a mini league within a league, look at the English and Scottish Premier Leagues to see.
What is more of a concern is the amount of money that some clubs are spending in the hope of winning a trophy come seasons end, yet if they win nothing where will it leave the club financially?
The question has to be asked are players currently playing in the league worth the money that clubs are paying them? We feel in a great deal of cases they are not. Surely a better system would be to have players on performance-based payments, as this season some higher paid players have shown that win or lose they simply don’t care, as long as they get paid.
What has to be better for all concerned would be a team all on a hypothetical figure of $150 per week, with win bonuses being greater for the better players and a sliding scale in terms of experience and ability. A similar but lesser bonus would be available for a draw.
The thing with salary caps is they need policing, otherwise everyone looks to find ways to circumnavigate them, and that is no easy task. There is no doubt that players will still find cash in their boots after a good game, but it is the duty of those involved today to protect the future of the game, and make sure that we do not destroy some of the game’s history in WA by chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
There is no doubt some very good football being played in the APB Football West State Premier League, but there are some players who had they been playing as long as five years ago would not have made their current club’s first team.
Last week the FFA announced new Player Contract Regulations that will allow clubs to sign up to three National Youth League players to minimum wage contracts outside of the salary cap.
According to the FFA “Clubs now have the ability to develop talented players with more certainty of retention with up to three players eligible to receive the improved contract while remaining on the NYL roster.”
However this move is unlikely to be taken up by many clubs who are already struggling financially.
The FFA has a minimum wage in place for youth players and this is to be kept in place with this new development. In fact they announced that players on an A League contract or a National Youth League contract will in fact benefit from an increase in their salary.
The increase of the minimum wage for players over 21 was of 2.2 per cent to $45,990 and $37,129.26 for players under 21.
This sounds encouraging if you are a youth player, but from the club’s perspective it is not a good move as they are going to be shelling out more money for players who may never get a game in the first team.
Rather than adopting this position, the FFA would have seen more clubs take up an apprentice-style recruitment, where the wages are lower and the players that have been earmarked as possibly making it to the next level can continue their studies while attached to the club.
We can see what the motivation was for this announcement, and we applaud it, but to force clubs to pay such high salaries to unproven players is unrealistic.
This will not be taken up by many clubs and is made abundantly clear by the number of average players that are kept on in the A League or shift clubs each season. These players are known entities, and with a salary cap a safe option for not too much money. They will always get contracts against some younger player as long as the salary cap exists.
Are Salary Caps a good thing? That is the question that is going to be raised now in light of the recent developments with the Melbourne Storm. The Sport that we do not mention will be held up as a shining light to show that it does work, although most fans know that even in that sport there are payments made that are “under the table.”
In the Hyundai A league there was an argument for them when the league was set up, and that was to prevent the league ending up like the old NSL with teams going broke and pulling out of the league. Well circumstances have proven that that has not worked.
In all codes there are clubs rorting the system more than others, with third parties involved with the club paying players for “out of club” activities, there are players being accommodated in apartments linked to clubs, but of course paying rent. Then there are salaries being paid to players before they join a club, in other words two clubs are paying them, the season before they join their new club.
“Everybody does it” is often the excuse thrown up when a club gets caught. That is a terrible indictment on the club itself. But sadly in today’s society, like it or not salary caps are there to be beaten and by whichever devious way you can come up with. They encourage underhand behaviour, yet the administrators always seem so surprised when they uncover a club who has beaten the system.
The days of clubs having morals are sadly in the past, sport is big business and if you do not keep up by whatever means possible you will fall by the wayside. As we know some clubs try to keep up and it ends up costing them far more in the long term.
It used to be that people were on the boards of clubs because they had a passion for the club, they had watched that club maybe as a child, had been successful and wanted to be a part of it. They were happy just to be on first name terms with the players. Those days are sadly gone and it is only the volunteers and some of the lower paid staff at clubs that still reflect that family club mentality, and who will do whatever it takes for the club that they love. Now the top people at clubs and on the boards are there for the money that they can make.
Big business has moved in, it is all about success and money, and with the exception of some clubs, the community in which they play has become secondary. All praise to the Rabittohs who have 17 players involved in community work every week, whereas some players from another code have players’ contracts that state they do not have to do community work!
Sport has always belonged to the people, and that is why it has always stirred up such great passion, the Storm maybe what is needed to change the thinking and the way sport operates, although sadly we doubt it. The people need to take back control and we applaud the British Government for trying to make that happen.
Sure it takes millions of dollars to run a sporting club at the top level, but big business, and people who are there for the wrong reasons have hijacked the clubs. The successful clubs do not have egos running them. It is time the fans took back the clubs, or were at least given a voice.
Whether we are talking football, rugby League or the sport that we do not mention fans need to be heard, and the clubs brought back to being an important part of the community. As for the salary cap, c’mon this is just an excuse for underhand business practises. Do away with it and concentrate on doing the job properly with proper protocols in place.