BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

England seek footballing lesson from Germans

Post categories:

David Bond | 09:26 UK time, Monday, 24 January 2011

MPs investigating the state of English football are to travel to Germany to look for lessons on how the game could be run better in this country.

Members of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee will visit Frankfurt and Munich in the next few weeks as part of a key fact-finding mission.

Ever since England were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by an exciting young German team, English football has been going through a period of introspection. That process became more intense after England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup was eliminated with only two votes in Zurich last month.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

England crash out of the 2010 World Cup following 4-1 defeat by Germany

German football has long been considered the role model for other countries to follow. Officials there make a greater investment in youth development, have strict quotas on foreign players in the Bundesliga and boast tighter club ownership rules that prevent any one "outside" investor from holding more than 49% of the shares in a club.

But the most crucial factor - the one which allows rules such as these to stick - is that the Deutscher Fussball Bund has retained control over the whole of the game in Germany - and, crucially, the Bundesliga. In England, the Football Association has lost ground and influence over the best part of the last two decades to the Premier League.

On Tuesday, new FA chairman David Bernstein will have his appointment approved by a meeting of the FA council. He takes over an organisation facing intense pressure from politicians to reform after recent setbacks.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson's claims last week that football was the worst governed sport in Britain have only added to that pressure.

So what started as a stop-gap inquiry for the committee has now taken on huge significance for the future of the game.

With the deadline for written evidence set to close on Wednesday, the committee has already collected a large number of submissions from senior figures within the sport.

The committee is expected to start taking verbal evidence in February - and such is the level of interest in the inquiry that there could be between seven or eight sessions stretching well into the spring.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has already met with the chairman of the committee, the Conservative MP for Maldon John Whittingdale, while the MPs have also been to Manchester City and plan to visit Arsenal.

Evidence is expected to be given by club owners from the Premier and Football League, senior FA figures, supporters and the players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association, as well as ministers.

Two key witnesses are likely to be Lord Terry Burns, who wrote a report on football governance that was then largely ignored by the FA, and former FA chairman Lord David Triesman.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Bernstein outlines the challenges facing the FA

And while this inquiry is not going to be an inquest into what is wrong with the FA or why England lost the World Cup vote, it would be unthinkable for the MPs not to focus in part on those issues. In that regard, Triesman's evidence will be fascinating.

The balance of power between the FA and the Premier League will also come under scrutiny. Initial meetings with key figures in football have flagged up this as the main area of concern for football.

But while this inquiry undoubtedly comes at a sensitive time for football, it is worth stating we have been here a few times in the past.

A number of governments have initiated a number of inquiries into football - with the threat of a regulator in the background - but very little has changed.

Why is this one likely to be different?

The coalition government's agreement last May did include a firm commitment to help supporters obtain a greater say in how their clubs are run. So, whether they like it or not, Conservative ministers instinctively opposed to any sort of state regulator are tied in to doing something to change the way professional clubs are owned and run.

That is why the select committee is taking this inquiry so seriously and why Sports Minister Robertson and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt hope MPs will shine the spotlight on the game in a way that forces administrators like Bernstein and Scudamore to act.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for this David, just about to do a presentation to some people at school on this.

  • Comment number 2.

    The answers quite simple.

    Lose your Gerrards lose your Lampards, Rooneys etc. They clearly do nothing for the team.
    When a player is payed in excess of 200K a week whats he actually fighting for. Players like these believe the hype and speculation in the media that they are truly world class. When clearly they aren't up to much at all.

    The money in English football and probably world football today is ruining the game, which infact it should be referred to as a business before anything else.
    You will see more passion and more effort down on local park each sunday than you will in the premiership each week.

    Times are sad when when numbers on a spreadsheet have a major baring on a team.

    RIP English Football

  • Comment number 3.

    Is there not some FIFA or UEFA edict on political intervention in the governance of football? How does this enquiry stand up against that? Does a potential exist for legislation requiring (say) at least 26% of the shares in an EPL or FL club to be held by supporters not associated with the majority shareholders? Is there any national football association in Europe that has a Regulator? There seem to be more questions than answers.

  • Comment number 4.

    Who exactly is funding this trip which seems to be a nice jolly for MPs.

    For one thing politicians should not be getting involved in sport to this extent and if they are the FA should be footing thhe bill for any such trip, not the tax payer.

    We are already facing massive cuts to public expenditure so how exactly can this be justified.

  • Comment number 5.

    When the teams regarded as the cream of English football play, week in, week out, an array of foreign players (sometimes only foreign players) in their teams, the national team is bound to fail.

    No matter what the findings of the Bundesliga will be, the problem with the England team will keep in existence for as long as top teams keep up with this approach.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whilst i don't agree with the size of their wage packets, i don't think it affects their mentality when playing for the national team. Most of the Brazilian, Spanish, French, whatever other large nation, their players are on similar wages to the english players!

  • Comment number 7.

    Sorry David, yet again a load of hot air and some good intentions on paper from the FA, but I'll believe it when I see it. In reality I can't see the FA being able to do anything of any real change. No doubt we'll be having the same debate in another 4 years

  • Comment number 8.

    The best kind of news I could hope to hear regarding our game. Ever since the WC humiliation Ive seen myself move away from the stale, overhyped, bloated PL and support more and more the Bundesliga, a league which not only manages to be competitive on the world stage despite not having a ridiculous amount of superstars/mediocre foreigners in their teams or massive foreign investors (the 51% fan ownership rule is fantastic), but which treats its fans really well and as a geniune part of the club - all clubs have retired the shirt number '12' in tribute to the fans, the 12th man, see? And the ticket prices are exceptionally cheap compared to the PL.

    Reading a piece written after the WC about how Germany pulled together, got the Bundesliga and national team coaches together and united about a way they would play and producing international players, was very heartening, and then depressing when you realised there wasn't a cat in hells chance of the PL ever taking notice.

  • Comment number 9.


    Spot on. Hence the quotas on foreign players in the Bundesliga. Look at Bayern Munich - top team over there, CL finalists, with foreign superstars like Robben and Ribery in their ranks, but also with German talent aplenty - both established (Klose, Schwienstieger) and up-and-coming younger talent (Lahm, Muller). For us it is the other way around - the top teams are packed with glittering (and sometimes mediocre) foreign talents, with the odd very much established English player (whose already had to graft at a lower club then move to a top team once established) in their ranks. Terry and Lampard may look strong in the Chelsea team, but take them out and try to form a team with them in the spine, along with Gerrard, Rooney et al, and it falls down.

  • Comment number 10.

    The case for Supporter involvement gathers apace. Events at Liverpool, Manchester United, Plymouth,Croydon, Crystal Palace, etc etc give evidence that the current model of Football governance is broken.
    Most glaringly, at my club, Portsmouth, the ownership issue has been so badly regulated that it has led to the near demise of the club. Even now the events and issues that surround the current owners lead many fans to believe that the club is still not safe. Fans have no power but vociferous protest. This is not the way a business routed in the ethics and values of a sporting activity should be run.
    Supporters Direct have been working to this end for some time now.
    Until clubs are run with some degree of transparency with the fans having a voice in their conduct and the right of scrutiny of the business practices of their clubs there will always be someone willing to use the cash in the game to their own benefit.
    The whole situation cries out for proper regulation. The German model is an admirable one. One can only hope those going on this visit will do so with open minds and an interest in improving the ethical image of football at heart.

  • Comment number 11.

    Until England as a country wakes up and realises that skill and technique is more important than brute force, pace and power, then they will win nothing. Below are changes that need to be made (but wont due to the vested interests of Sky, Premier League, Agents, and the neanderthal attitudes of a lot of English players, managers and pundits.)

    1. All levels of football to be taught that passing, control and thinking is far more important that been the biggest, strongest or fastest!

    2. Proper investment in youth football, rather than token gestures.

    3. Improve youth coaching (teach them about player development, rather than just hoof it to the big, fast lump up front.)

    4. Somehow reduce the Premier Leagues influence in football. The 'greed is good league' is a self serving animal that does not benefit English football in the slightest.

    5. Educate fans that a 10 or 20 pass move is more worthy of a cheer that two lumps thundering in to a two footed tackle on the half way line.

    6. Introduce proper regulations on club ownership. Too many clubs are now 'assests' been bleed dry by their owners.

    7. Reduce price of tickets. Concessions to be made for under 16.

    8. Play football as much as possible at 3pm on a Saturday! Why make fans travel hundreds of miles for midday or evening kick offs?

    9. Follow the Bundesliga model as much as possible.

    10. Far stronger punishments for serious foul play.

    11. Punish 'stars' who shout obscene abuse at referees. Retrospective action should be used if need be.

    12. Don't let the government get involved. They might just be an ever bigger bunch of clowns that the people currently running the game!

    13. Realise that there is a big wide world outside this island. Encourage players, managers and coaches to look to move abroad to further their education.

    14. All under 14 football to be played at 6 or 7 a side on smaller pitches. Emphasis to be placed on technique rather than winning at all costs.

    15. To ban the phrase 'Root and Branch reform' I have heard this so much we could have a planted a new Sherwood forest!

    16. Reduce player wages. Simply obscene at the moment, and it is the fans/mugs who are paying this. Perhaps the only way to get around employment laws etc is to introduce a wage budget for each team.

    17. Rather than focusing on the Euro 2012. Start building a new team for the 2014 World Cup. Players who will be too old for that should be dropped now.

    18. Improve punditry in football. So many fans base their opinions on what the 'experts' say. When you consider just how many dinosaurs and neanderthals athere are in the football media, it is scary.

    19. No England game to have empty seats. Free tickets to local school children if tickets haven't been purchased. Move some England games around the country to make this practice fair. England is for the whole country not just people below the M25!

    20. Less commercial tickets. It would be nice for fans to be able to attend games rather than just friends of sponsors etc!

  • Comment number 12.

    This learning trip to Germany is the only sensible first step on the road to recovery for English football. What is so astonishing about it is that it took them sooo long to take this obvious step. Congratulations for pulling your head out of the sand! The harder bit will be to accept the findings...will the English FA do it, or dismiss it as "continental rubbish"? Rubbish that has won Germany 3 world championships, 4 for Italy, 2 for France and one for Spain. How many did England win?

  • Comment number 13.

    "have strict quotas on foreign players in the Bundesliga"
    Why is it that when anyone suggests quotas here we are told it is against EU law?

  • Comment number 14.

    To all those asking for a "foreign quota" as an answer to Englands problems please look back at the 1970/80s when there were virtually no non-British players in the top flight. Were England world beaters in those days? the answer is no!
    In fact they failed to qualify for the 74/78 world cups so i dont see how that argument stands up?
    If you are good enough you will play but the problem is a lot of the English youngsters dont seem to be as dedicated as the foreigners - they get a big contract and they seem to think that they have made it - then the stories of booze and women etc start in the papers.
    As for the FA that particular organisation has not been fit for purpose for the last 50 years - England won the world cup despite the FA and due to Sir Alfs stubboness in dealing with them so what a bunch of MP's going on a freebie to Germany will change i am not sure!

  • Comment number 15.

    This could be considered a step in the right direction, but until the FA is powered by football people (ex players/managers/board members/chairmen etc) instead of business people and politicians, I cant see much progress to improve the sport.

    Sadly, over recent years the focus on sport has declined while the focus on the business and money side has increased. This has ultimately trickled down to club level. It is arguably more a business than a sport these days.

    While I also agree that the transfer and wage amounts demanded by players and clubs is very excessive, ultimately these trends are across Europes big teams particularly in Spain and Italy. If a team wants to keep a top player at their club, they need to offer the massive wages to stave off interest from these clubs (I would assume the big German clubs are not shy of these amounts for the likes of Robben, Ribery etc). Ditto for attracting a calibre player. Much of this can be recouped by sponsorship and image rights however so I would like to see how these transfer & wage amounts actually balance out by sponsorship/image rights etc. For example, Real Madrid claimed the massive 60m transfer of Ronaldo would be easily reclaimed via shirt sales and the sale of image rights, so if this is the case the actual sum paid for a player, in some cases, is inflated versus the actual cost after generating income from that player.

  • Comment number 16.

    2. At 10:41am on 24 Jan 2011, Steve wrote:
    The answers quite simple.

    Lose your Gerrards lose your Lampards, Rooneys etc. They clearly do nothing for the team.
    When a player is payed in excess of 200K a week whats he actually fighting for. Players like these believe the hype and speculation in the media that they are truly world class. When clearly they aren't up to much at all.

    The money in English football and probably world football today is ruining the game, which infact it should be referred to as a business before anything else.
    You will see more passion and more effort down on local park each sunday than you will in the premiership each week.

    Times are sad when when numbers on a spreadsheet have a major baring on a team.

    RIP English Football


    I agree with everything you have said, however the reason there is so much money in football is entirely down to the fans, and fans are the only ones who can do anything about it.

    Tickets are extortionate, Sky Sports is extortionate, replica shirts and memorabilia is extortionate, yet fans keep paying it.

    The only way to bring prices and by extension, wages down is for the hundreds of thousands of fans who spend stupid sums of money on following football to stop.

    People like to blame men in suits for the financial lunacy which is English football and the negative impact it is having on the game, but people need to look closer to home and think a little more carefully about what their £1000 season ticket, £20 per month sports package and £40 replica shirt is actually buying and paying for.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.


    Very true. Again we can look to the Bundesliga for this - I think it was Borussia Dortmund who a little while ago raised their ticket prices to over the equivalent of £20 for the first time, and the fans immediatly organised a mass walkout - their next game had whole swathes of empty seats in protest. No surprise, the club swiftly reduced the tickets back down again. They didn't talk about doing it, rant about it on forums, yet still pay a load and go and just harrumph in the stands - they organised and did it. And with fans having a big representation on the board/ownership shares, they have a much greater influence, so they don't need stupid songs or mass demonstrations relating to past legends to try and get their point across - the club listens when they have a greviance.

  • Comment number 19.

    * 13. At 11:17am on 24 Jan 2011, Rabster wrote:

    "have strict quotas on foreign players in the Bundesliga"
    Why is it that when anyone suggests quotas here we are told it is against EU law?


    Because people are silly.

    If you were to say "You can only sign English nationals" then no doubt it is against some EU law (what isnt?)

    Clubs should be aloud to sign whomever they want, and from whatever country they like.

    What should be done if to have a quota of foreign players in the squad that plays on that day, somewhat I suppose like in the old days of the European Cup.

    you could have a squad of 50 foreign players and 10 english players but you would have to field say 5 players who qualify for the national team in the starting 11.

    It wont happen, but for me it should happen, I really do hate it when a team takes to the field and it has only one or two English players.

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes Compo and Clegg and thier Cohorts should keep thier noses well out of sport look at the mess they caused during the WC Bid ( 2 votes!! )

    and the lack of talent in so far as football in the uk is concerned is down to the coaches of the past, pure and simple.

    everything in england revolves solely around short term gain while others look at the long term and will reap the rewards.

    england will continue to be a country in decline both in terms of sport and economics.

  • Comment number 21.

    This may not be popular, but I'll say it anyway. The one thing that English (and Scottish) football needs is to be forced to live in the real world.

    By this I mean if a team trades insolvently - it goes into administration and then liquidation.

    I'm a taxpayer and I strongly object to banks (who I indirectly helped to survive) propping up companies that have virtually no prospects of ever returning the money lent to them.

    I also object to the football creditors as preferential creditors farce. If I don't pay the tax authorities what I own them on time, then they will fine me and eventually make me bankrupt. I want the same to apply to football clubs!

    A few Gretnas or Fiorentinas would soon reign in the bloated, debt ridden mess that typifies what most of what the football community currently considers acceptable.

  • Comment number 22.

    I would really like to know who is paying for this trip and review?
    I suspect it is the government (ie. taxpayer)
    If this is true it sickens me. MPs spending money to try and score popularity points and votess. Fair enough a lot of people (try to) enjoy watching England play but politicians should not be getting involved. They should stick to trying to get the county out of the mess we are in and then move onto the FA. Taxpayers money should not be spent on this especially not when we should be spending it on front line services and creating jobs. I really hope the FA are funding this!
    David, would be great to know this. Also should politicians be getting involved?

  • Comment number 23.

    " Lose your Gerrards lose your Lampards, Rooneys etc. They clearly do nothing for the team.
    When a player is payed in excess of 200K a week whats he actually fighting for. Players like these believe the hype and speculation in the media that they are truly world class. When clearly they aren't up to much at all. "

    and the above comment sums it all up very nicely. they should have been ditched ages ago but no! and even with the above list of utter failures the surporters were crying out for the return of another total waste of space Beckham.

    you lot will never learn thats for dam sure.

  • Comment number 24.

    Good blog.

    As David Bond says in his blog, the Bund retains control over all of German football, and care very much about the emergence of German talent. There are, I dare say, many more UEFA qualified coaches in Germany than there are in England. The Spanish have the most and look at them.

    On the other hand, we don't care who owns our clubs and don't seem to have a national purpose for our national game - it's just product to be sold.

    For me, that's the difference. The Germans care about their national side and their national side's development and have a strong institutional base so that their game can flourish. For all the pride and passion of English fans, we are let down by weak institutions and an absence of vision. The EPL only cares about money and isn't really English - the players aren't, the managers aren't, the ownership isn't. The teams that play in it just happen to be based here.

    For all the pride and passion of English fans, it's no surprise to me that the team plays more like donkeys than lions.

  • Comment number 25.

    Totally agree with the article that we need to take a long look at the state of our game. However, why do we as a nation continue to be so arrogant as to always blame our malaise on everyone else. Yes the amount of english players not playing week in week out in the top flight is worrying, but perhaps they just simply arent good enough? Why are we always expected to win the World Cup? Constantly exiting in the quarter finals shows that perhaps that is our level, we just arent that good!
    Most of the team are playing week in week out anyway (Hart, Johnson, Cole, Ferdinand, Terry, Barry,Rooney to name most of the team). I just feel that we need to take a look at ourselves and lower our expectations. I dont know any other country that has as much (wrong) belief in itself!

  • Comment number 26.

    an excellent blog david bond, thoroughly enjoyed reading your last few but this above all others. the german model, the running of youth development as well as the running of the bundesliga (vs our independent Premiership) is a truly fascinating model and German football is undiscovered and underrated by our appalling media. thanks for shedding light david.

    it was after france 98 when germany only reached the quarter finals, which was to their FA deemed a failure, that they launched a root-and-branch review of youth development and vowed to create a better team. 10 years later and the level of young talent in the country is incredible. how i wish we would have followed that model after the South Africa fiasco. alas.

    great work though

  • Comment number 27.

    In my opinion the problem the national team has is much more to do with the problem the spanish had before there recent success. Is the reason the Italian sides only triumph in controversy. The problem Germany never has, and the same reason France did so badly at the world cup. The reason Greece won the euro's in 04. Unity and team spirit.

    It has nothing to do with the money. Barcelona and Real Madrid pay there players millions as well, yet they perform for the national side. In the world cup final there were sereral players in the Dutch and Spanish teams that play in the Prem and our on Huge wages. Yet they performed.

    It has nothing to do with foreign players in the Prem. I have never seen a single peice of evidence to suggest this affects the national team. Our national team has failed to qualify for world cups in the past (74,78,94) and Euro's (64,72,76,84,08) in the 70's there were more english players in the top league this did make our national side better. The Italian and spanish league's have plenty of foreign playes yet they have won the last 2 world cups.

    Its clear in our national side under the current manager and the 2 previous there is a lack of unity and I would go so far as to say some of thous players hate each other. Yet nothing has been done about it. There never going to reach there potential while there are so many divions in the side. I don't know how to solve this problem, ask the spanish or the germans how they do it. But don't blame it on other things.

  • Comment number 28.

    Well considering it is illegal under FIFA regulations for a government to interfere in the affairs of a football association it seems like just yet another waste of MPs time and our money to pay them.

    What is the point in adopting the German model? Germany didnt come close to winning the World Cup, German clubs never win anything (apart from Bayern several times) and don't attract the biggest stars in the game.

    If any model should be adopted by England it should surely be the Spanish one in turning a team that never made up to their qualification promise into European and World champions.

  • Comment number 29.

    #11 You should be running the FA!
    #18 Borussia Dortmund are a perfectly run club on every level & other clubs should be looking at the example that they set.

    I'll be doing a whole article on this issue soon, but to quote the 606 caller who inspired it - Sean from Oxford - "everyone's interested in the icing on the top, no-one cares about the cake below". How true.

  • Comment number 30.

    The only way football will change in this country is with an overhaul of the youth system. If you cap the number of foreign-based players in the top league then clubs will have to start looking across the country for the next superstar, and at a young age.
    Clubs and the FA have become narrow minded in there search for a superstar and assume that players who play out of the top youth league are not good enough to play for them. They should be asking the question, are there players in lower leagues who for whatever reason do not, cannot, or will not play for a top youth team, even though they are good enough and then ask the question “are we missing talent”
    The answer is yes, and the FA and Clubs must realise this.
    Start with the changes from the grassroots up, cut the red tape and give the football back to the fans.

  • Comment number 31.

    Didn't the FA copy France's academy set up when they won back to back tournaments 98-00? It's no guarantee of success - which is probably more reliant on random genetic influences rather than careful planning.

    However certain things do hold true. The FA has lost power and is losing ground to the premier league all the time. It couldn't find a sponsor for ages, the FIFA debacle, Triesman, Wembley, Palios/Alam and the Wembley pitch - this is not a role of honour - and it's hard to understand why anyone in their right mind would give this organisation in its current state more power or influence.

    Until running the grass roots and running the profession game are decoupled, the FA is set up for failure. We don't want the secretary of the Cornish FA sitting next to Franz Beckenbauer because it's his turn and he did a good job getting the cows off the pitch in Newquay.

  • Comment number 32.

    Why is it that the vast majority of people on here, and probably countless others who havent posted, have got good, solid and (more importantly) RIGHT ideas on how the fix the train-wreck that English football has become, but the idiots in the suits in London havent got a clue whats going wrong or how to rectify it?
    Give football back to the fans. The game will not survive without us.

  • Comment number 33.

    When English Schools dissolved the traditional "House" system - thus ending Intra-School Sports and sporting pride - the Inter-School games suffered and our Youth Development fell apart like a house of cards in a breeze. This was a Government decision and so much of the blame can be laid solely on the steps of No. 10.

    I don't like Government intervention in the running of any particular Sport. It really is not a political arena, but a reversal of those Thatcher-era Educational reforms would have far-reaching and positive results for Youth Development, especially for Football and even Cricket.

    The amount of money being pumped into Football, drained from the pockets of the under-paid fans and shelled out to players in mind-boggling and nauseous sums MUST stop ! The transfer of more and more foreign players is a slap in the face to youngsters who realise their dreams are destined to become nightmares.

  • Comment number 34.

    I can't see the Premier League wanting to lose any of their influence in the game and the way they control the finances, which is what this could result in. The recommendations may be made, but not much of it will be implemented as the Premier League and some of the member clubs will see it as a threat to their influence and income streams. For me, I think following the German example of how to run the games is a good idea in so many ways, but the amount of money being pumped into our game is wrong in so many ways and has contributed in a very big way to the 'greed is good' attitude of clubs and players here. I think this is a non-starter really, but the intention is admirable

  • Comment number 35.

    Why is it that the vast majority of people on here, and probably countless others who havent posted, have got good, solid and (more importantly) RIGHT ideas on how the fix the train-wreck that English football has become, but the idiots in the suits in London havent got a clue whats going wrong or how to rectify it?
    Give football back to the fans. The game will not survive without us.


    Because most (if not all) of the people on here love the game, the FA love the money in the game, vital difference.

  • Comment number 36.

    I am an insolvency practitioner who has been involved in several football clubs. I am also one of those who submitted my views on football governance.

    There are several comments regarding this latest review by the Government and, while I cannot comment on them all, some of the issues readers should consider include:

    1. The F.A. do not properly regulate the finances of their member clubs yet are very quick to impose fines for (say) bringing football into disrepute. Babbel being a casing point when hit for £10K due to a joke yet a supplier I am assisting finds there is no F.A. rule that he can rely upon when a club refuses to pay him in the ordinary course of business!

    2. The lack of financial regulation results in clubs spending far beyond their means, relying mainly on a wealthy benefactor and non/delayed payment of normal trading costs. This leads to absurd amounts on unpaid tax being written off and other businesses suffering bad debt due to non-payment when a club fails.

    3. The financial issues, together with the (no doubt) world media drive towards corporate hospitality pushes prices up to a point the real supporters (who are a principle source of income) can no longer afford to attend matches.

    There is an awful lot wrong with the football industry (as a business) and unless something drastic is either imposed upon the F.A. (by less forgiveness against their members not paying their way) or the F.A. accepting their responsibility as a governing body and bringing their rules into the 21st century football as we know it will ultimately collapse into the annals of history.

  • Comment number 37.

    ...and most importantly, the tickets are a lot cheaper. People can happily afford to go and watch their favourite teams

  • Comment number 38.

    Based in Germany, my son is going through the junior levels, a sterotype maybe but it is very very well organised, training twice a week with DFB certified coaches, matches and tournaments most weekends. Clear guidelines from the DFB on what juniors should know and be able to do at each level. One clear league structure from local to Bundesliga. Close ties between amateur and professional clubs to identify young talent.

    The one big difference I see is that Germany is focussed on being successful as a National Team in tournaments(WC and EC)and they are successful. There is not yet that much interest in promoting the Bundesliga as a brand beyond Germany. The result is that it lags behind England, Italy and Spain. Also success in European competitions is limited to a very few clubs - there is a lack of club strength in depth. The cream of Bundesliga talent tends to leave.......e.g. Ozil and Khedira to Real Madrid, Dzeko and Boeteng to Man City.

    Bottom line Germany are a force at National level and not at a European domestic level currently (with the exception of Bayern Munich). That won't change until German clubs are prepared to spend more money on attracting top players.

  • Comment number 39.

    I just don't get how people are still thrown by this issue of wages. Football is a multi-billion pound industry, as Bambam (post 16 eloquently explained). Footballers are worth a lot of money, because their performances make a lot of money, and as they do most of the work of course they are entitled to their pay. To my mind though, the problem is simply the players handling of their money and fame. When was the last time a foreign player was involved in a bar brawl, or drunk as hell and peeing behind a dumpster, or caught cheating on his wife? Funny how the players that seem to have some respect for others get on rather well. I remember Redknapp saying he gave Bale the week off because he was shattered, and it was a testiment to the lad that rather than turn up wasted in the pages of the Sun in Ibiza he went to stay with his Mum in Cardiff, and actually came back rested and played better, not came back hungover and overweight.

    If the young players were taught respect and self discipline rather than built up to be demi-gods allowed to do whatever they want then we might have made a few dedicated hard working professionals like Giggs, Scholes and Shearer and a few less incredibly talented people wasting their potential for all time greatness like Rooney, Terry, Gerrard, Gasgoine (the pinnacle of wasted talent) with Andy Carroll doing his best to make the list too.

    As I see it we would be a lot better if the English academies started judging their players antics more harshly. Sadly it may lead to some incredibly talented players being shown the door but the ones that make it through should be a bit more professional . It can't be a coincidence that a whole generation of the most consistent (read consistent, not best) players for the last 10 years all came out of the Manchester United academy at the same time, and it strikes me that someone there was helping them all stay well grounded.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think its refeshing that the FA have decided to observe other countries in an attempt to improve the english football system. in other sports coaches and governing bodies observe how other countries systems work in the hope of developing their own and i definately think its something that can help english football in the long run!

    theirs a reason why countries like the Netherlands do well in international competitions, even with a population of just 16 million in comparison to englands 51 million and thats because of a better sport system and elite structure.

  • Comment number 41.

    After WC98 and Euro 2000 the Germans began their reforms after successive failures (Q-Final and group stage exit). We've had so many missed opportunities to do this (Euro 2000, the failure of the so called 'golden generation WC2006, didnt qualify for Euro 2008 and the fiasco of South Africa) yet we are stuck in our ways and exceptionally arrogant about our PL because we believe the likes our Sky who state its the best league in the world (imo its the Bundesliga) our refusal to face facts has caused all this and I believe we will still wont act for a long time yet

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh... and PLEASE... enough about the failed World Cup bid !! That whole affair was a Scam from the kick-off. It's long been known that Blatter & Co. have an agenda to take the Tournament to previously unchartered and unwarranted territories whilst breaking every rule in their own book. The Pontiac Silverdome (USA 1994) for instance. Indoor games... VERBOTEN ?

    We'd have fared better had we decided to withdraw the bid in protest against the obvious result... and made that Panorama programme far more revealing and embarrassing to FIFA.

  • Comment number 43.

    29. At 12:07pm on 24 Jan 2011, the_fantastic_alistair wrote:
    #11 You should be running the FA!
    #18 Borussia Dortmund are a perfectly run club on every level & other clubs should be looking at the example that they set.

    I'll be doing a whole article on this issue soon, but to quote the 606 caller who inspired it - Sean from Oxford - "everyone's interested in the icing on the top, no-one cares about the cake below". How true.

    Thanks, but is 'you should be running the FA' a compliment or not? Considering the current clowns that are there......!

  • Comment number 44.

    3 words: Corporate Social Responsibility

    The Premier League's agenda does not serve the players of this country, the fans of the England National Team or most of the fans in this country. Their main interest in growing the PL as a product overseas means that people like Trevor Brooking, honourable people trying to help children and the next generation for the good of the game in this country, are being shown the revolving door exit.

    How are the current policies around player development pathways and coach development pathways helping the English game, exactly...?


  • Comment number 45.

    Professional football has long ceased being a sport and spiralled out of control into a business worth millions. Winning a competition, or indeed in cases a single match, is not so much about glory or pride - it's all about money. Players, or employees might be a better word, are paid far too much and these overheads are picked up the customers, who can pay a small fortune to watch their business perform for ninety minutes.

    Roll on the Rugby World Cup. Sport. ;-)

  • Comment number 46.


  • Comment number 47.

    How can we already be complaining about what they've done before any of the players from any sort of new system have come through yet? We don't even know how the generation growing up over the past decade has fared yet, in fact our under 17s won the European Championship about a year or so back. I'm not saying there's nothing wrong but it's a bit early to be complaining about the steps everyone's taking before we have even seen a single player come out of this system.

  • Comment number 48.

    Another FREEBIE jaunt by politicians, best hotels, best restaurants, first class flights etc... What a waste of money.

    All it would take would be half a dozen blokes sitting in a bar for the evening and they could tell you all that was wrong about football and all that is needed to put it right.

    Cost... £100 and that includes the Donner Kebab on the way home.

  • Comment number 49.

    JamTay1 - I think Esther Rantzen could do a better job than those running/ruining English football! People like us who know their stuff should be given a chance imo...

  • Comment number 50.

    Noticing that many of my fellow posters have talked about concentrating on improving the game through skill and technique rather than route one football (etc.). have any of you heard of futsal, the indoor 5-aside version of the game that concentrates on doing exactly that?

    We need to seek lessons from the Brazilians and the Spanish, who football players are products just as much from a futsalling background as a footballing one. If our players learnt how to play the game properly, maybe our national side would improve! Just a thought. Even Cesc Fabregas recently tweeted about his love of the game whilst watching a recent Spain v Portugal international...

  • Comment number 51.

    The two faced nature of the people within the FA and similar feeby loving politicians are at the root of England's football troubles.
    The country's in a major recession and politicians are sent on a German jolly.

    The FA are about to break their own rules at the Olympic Stadium. Local councillors are about to decide whether West Ham or Tottenham are preferred bidders for the stadium. FA rules state that big clubs are not allowed to relocate within the immediate vicinity of another FA league team.
    Leyton Orient's ground is under two miles from the Olympic Stadium and their casual support is very likely to be decimated if either of the proposed moves take place.
    Dishonourable rule breaking from the legislators of football...and they're not even former players of any distinction.

  • Comment number 52.

    The "simple" solution would be to reduce the pay of players & managers alike and reduce transfer fee costs as well as vastly reducing/eliminating agent fees.

    That will never ever happen but it is realistically what is needed.

    No-one needs to earn £140,000 a WEEK, combined with the £million transfer fees. That's money that could be better spent in the current economy (different subject altogether).

    If players earned £140,000 a YEAR and transfer fees were capped in the £1000's not £millions then clubs would have to spend much, much less. This way, tickets would be cheaper, merchandise could be cheaper.

    The pressures on the clubs to spend would be far less and it would actually increase the competition in the leagues as money wouldn't be the be all and end all.

    I fear that all of these ideas and discussion points we're having about the state of football are about 20 years too late.

  • Comment number 53.

    No 11. You talk too much sense so that rules you out of "running" football. Great piece mate.

    As Fifa obviously dont like us, why dont we reform and ABOLISH the Premier League and FA organisations and replace it with 1 organisation that has the motto and sticks to the motto "Its not our game - its the peoples game". So what if Sepp Blatter intimates expulsion from FIFA. Maybe, by destroying the Ivory Towers that are currently the FA and PL, we could begin the process of dismantling the biggest of the lot, FIFA ?

    Sadly there is too much vested interest for anything to change, just look at the banks, MONEY MONEY MONEY. Back to their old ways and when the people (taxpayers) who have supported them and kept them in business demand change, to mend their ways, they just tell us to !!!!!!!!!!

    Same with football, supporters have supported their teams, kept them in business (if supporters did not turn up, the clubs would not exist, simple basic fact)but those in charge have vested interests,nowt will change.

    Yes, its great going to Germany but seriously how many times have we been this route ? Simply an exercise to pacify dissatisfaction, next time we fail at a championships, same routine will happen.


    Football will never change because football supporters are like lemmings, the clubs do things, the supporters simply follow the line, " Its our club, we must not do anything to hurt our club like not going"

    I know this sentiment because for years I had guys in front of me who would take great offence with anyone who passed comments against the club, or the players on a Sat afternoon. The club and the players could do anything in these fans eyes, the job of the supporters was to support the club no matter how damaging the boardroom was acting or how badly the team was performing. That attitude is prevalent amongst supporters, it is that which has to change for things to happen, things will never change otherwise.

    If MP's are going to Germany to see how their top brass work, maybe the fans groups like the FSA should do likewise, and speak with their German counterparts.

  • Comment number 54.

    You can change regualators, systems, heads or this or whetever the hell you want, it wont make any diference what so ever as long as you dont teach kids from 5 that passing, control and movement like the spanish/germans is what its all about.

    Until that changes England (and us jocks) will fail miserably and produce less and less players.

    rant over

  • Comment number 55.

    It begs the question, why has it taken us this long to realise the German model is better than ours!? Its quite ridiculous if you this about it, Our whole game is setup for the premier league to make money and the quality of our football has gone down as a result

  • Comment number 56.

    In my opinion UEFA is actually the cause of much of the financial malaise affecting British clubs.

    So much of the money in football is channeled to clubs competing in the Champions League that it distorts even domestic lower leagues. The Big Four in England rake in so much money from the CL that, short of some Benitez-style catastrophe, they cannot possibly drop out of the top four. They can afford to pay more in transfer fees and wages than the rest of the league put together. They massively distort the wage market by overpaying mediocre players who then demand and, backed up by PFA collusion, receive huge salaries at the other prem clubs they move to. Sky has enabled them to afford this with the bubble in recent years, but this merely moved the problem a further step down the ladder with the enormous financial gulf between Championship and Premier league. This forces lower premiership teams to overextend themselves financially in a desperate bid to stay up at all costs (often trying to control expenditure by buying cheaper foreign players than the over-priced rejects from the top four) and often has the effect on the field of producing a "don't lose at all costs" playing style. (Blackpool are something of a revelation this season, but their determination to conduct their finances sensibly will doom them to relegation anyway.)

    This pattern is reflected in the championship as ambitious clubs massively overspend on a gamble to reach the promised land of the prem, often ruining themselves in the process.

    The media is also complicit in the problem. We actually have the fourth best attended league in the world in the Championship (bigger than Serie A) yet you wouldn't know it from the coverage in the media. For example, in most sunday papers matches involving the top four usually get a page or two each, other premier matches make do with a quarter to a half page each and the rest of the entire football league is crammed into another quarter page, often with nothing more than the final score. On TV Sky, of course, is wall to wall premiership with the occasional lower league match shown when a prem slot is empty. To their credit the BBC do show the occasional championship game (though I don't know why it's not more regular) and they have fair coverage of the football league on their website, partly no doubt afforded by the luxury of infinite column inches and pundits with little to do between live matches.

    Finally, the FA itself is of course ultimately responsible for the bad management of the league. I have no idea how they have managed to be so bad for so long. I guess they are more along the lines of an old boy's club rather than an administrative organization.

    It's hard to see how we can have an effective body manging football without it having control of all levels of the game. Few would advocate the FA re-taking control of the PL with their current level of competency and likewise few would advocate the PL taking over administration of the lower leagues (assuming they even wanted to). I'm not sure what the answer is but I suspect it's going to require closer ties between the PL and FA and less money being funneled to the top few clubs. Most likely we will have to wait til the current bubble bursts and with declining revenues Sky will lose interest, allowing a reformation of sorts, but probably dooming more than a few clubs to complete collapse.

  • Comment number 57.

    OK so lets take a business model of a country who haven't achieved anything in European Club football for quite sometime and implement it here.
    Notice they are looking at German Clubs not the International setup.
    We got beat by Germany by a better team, not some mystical voodoo that the Germans have done, a lot of our team didn't turn up/were not fit and that goes down to the Manager decisions I'm afraid.
    Hell even then if that 2nd goal had been allowed it would have been 2-2 and game on.
    Terrible Idea, When Bayern Munich and at least 6 other clubs in their division dominate the champions league/Uefa cup then maybe but until then perhaps they should copy our model.

  • Comment number 58.

    The irony is that, after all these years of Wenger slating, Arsenal's young English players will end up being the saviours of the national team. We already have a world class central midfielder, right winger and left back. Plus Jay Emannuel Thomas, Henri Lansbury and Emmanuel Fringprong all likely to come through in future years. That just leaves other teams to fill in the blanks. Furthermore, it will be with the technical skill and short passing game that every England fan seemed to suddenly point out a lack of at the World Cup. Put in Hart, Jones of Blackburn and a few other choice players and England will have a very good team. MARK MY WORDS.

  • Comment number 59.

    And another thing how many of these 'super' Germans play in our league?
    The league where we pay anything and everything for the best talent..
    If they were that good they'd be captaining Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea or Tottenham or even Liverpool but to be honest they cannot be that good, sure they have good players but not Excellent.

  • Comment number 60.

    The cat was out of the bag when the PL was created. It is a business pure and simple. The teams receive much of their income from TV and sponsorships. Diluting the quality of the PL in a misguided effort to improve the national team does not make sense and, in reality, could be challenged in court as restricting their right to do business.

    The FA has been soooooo mismanaged over the years they have lost all credibility and the moral leadership to dictate to the PL teams. In that sense the failed WC bid does come into play. Why would a PL team, a separate business entity, put its future in the hands if the FA?

    Our national team issues need to need to be addressed independantly of the PL at first otherwise it will become a pwer struggle. The PL are already looking at modifying the youth team structure, more than the FA has done with their Academy.

    Unless the solution can benefit the PL teams as businesses it will look like we are ounishing them for being successful while the FA is being rewarded for failing.

  • Comment number 61.

    #16 has hit the nail on the head. PL fans have it in their power to change English football forever simply by not blindly throwing money at the clubs they support. To form a real protest, do the following: stay away from the ground, don't renew your season tickets, don't buy the 7 replica shirts released every season and cancel your Sky Sports subscriptions. Still need a fix of live football? Go watch your local non-league or lower league side. The quality won't be as good, but there'll be plenty of passion on display still. If you simply must watch your PL team, go down and support your local pub whilst watching.

    Of course, PL fans won't do this, because they don't care about English football either. They only care about their pet club winning the Champions League.

  • Comment number 62.

    Have to agree with the point made by Kolgan, Nigeria and Ghana have been banned or threatened with international bans for the intrusion of governments, why is the English government and FA so special. The politicians should concentrate on what they are supposedly paid and elected to do which is representing their voters and helping the country rather than interfering on footballing matters.

  • Comment number 63.

    Football is full of nostalgia and backward looking men. New ideas are derided by an old guard that take up positions of influence and refuse to budge even when they have failed. Coaches, Physios, Managers and Pundits are has-beens still trying to dictate where the game should go when their only credentials are that they played the game before.

    We need new fresh analysis of the game, which can only be done by people not already tainted. Example. "It's a mans game", a comment often spoke by pundits and managers, meaning that it's a physical game...or is it. Where in the rule book does it state that you have to be physically bigger then your opponent? It's in practice only, yet a simple jingo sets peoples attitudes of people not known for their intelligence. You should be focused on skill not on how tough you are. So how can we get coaches and managers to focus on skill…A clue as to as the demise of English football can be found in North London. Arsene Wenger has produced a team that plays with a large degree of skill and has shown the way forward, yet how many other clubs are following him?

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Villa might provide a few too - I'm sure as an Arsenal fan, you'll know about about the Villa reserve match!! and youth side doing ok too (Youth cup finalists last year)

    Texfits - Premier league always gets the 2nd level stars. where do the REAL top players play? Messi, Kaka, Ronaldo, Xavi etc...Not in the Premier League!!

    I support a team in League one and the level of support down the leagues is a lesson to the world - it's amazing. The Premier league is the one problem - overpaid stars and overrated english players acting like fools in nightclubs after having their ego's massaged from an early age.

  • Comment number 65.

    #16 and #61 are right. Man Utd fans can wear funky colours as long as they like and nothing will change. Were they all to boycott just one CL home match however the club would take notice immediately.

  • Comment number 66.

    With the extensive globalisation of the game and the world continuing, and the breaking down of international barriers, is it still worth pitching some body against another simply because they were born in a different place - surely

  • Comment number 67.


    Arsenal may have

    "produced a team that plays with a large degree of skill and has shown the way forward"

    but what have they won?

    They play great football don't get me wrong but why should everyone play like that if its cheaper to do say what Everton or Bolton do and that's but hard working non flashy footballers, a couple of big lads in the team and get the same results come the end of the season (meaning win nothing but still compete)

    Man UTD may have spent a lot of money in the past to put together a team but they are also SUCCESSFUL despite every year we are told its Liverpools season (last year) or Chelsea (this year) and still UTD roll on.

    Arsenal play well when the Team they are playing allows them but soon as they come against a good strong team (like UTD) they fold and lets not kid ourselves Wenger has also spent a lot of money even if its 8million for kids that we do not see for years. (albeit a lot of skillful players)

  • Comment number 68.

    does anyone realy care anymore?
    england are rubbish, we have no english players based overseas to learn about other cultures and style. but as far as im concerned, the last world cup worth watching was USA 94 and that was first world cup.

    russia will be okay if the stadiums arent ravaged by fires but i think an indoor world cup in qatar is a joke, and if youre talking about switching it to winter youre having a laugh.

    who doesnt hate it when league games are disrupted by friendlies and qualifiers? the international game doesnt appeal to followers of the Premier League (sorry football league), but if we got rid of british internationals, we could spend the money we throw at england and their managers, and improve british football from Premier League to Blue Square Premier and the SPL downwards.

    English footballers cannot play football thats good to watch because it lacks the culture that foreign, especially latin teams have. Gareth Barry, Gerrard, Lampard, they are all good players and have the 'English' qualities, long range passing and workrate, but it doesn't make for pretty football, it just makes for a frustrated Rooney and route one, no ideas football.

    I agree that the Premier League is all about money, for them, for me, its consistantly, 2, 3, 4 days a week of exciting, good quality entertainment, international football involving England hasn't given me that since we scraped through the qualifiers at Old Trafford thanks to a vintage Beckham free-kick and even that was a flash in the pan.

    A lot of people wont like it, especially the beaurocrat capitalists at the FA, but as far as I'm concerned England should just bow out, take out time to build a good style of football, then look at going back into the fray, I'm not Scottish so wouldn't want to offend, but I am half Welsh so I'm gonna say it anyway: Scotland and Wales should follow suit, find out what Scottish football is, what English football is, what our strengths are, work on them and then go back to challenging on the international stage, maybe even 15 years down the line.

  • Comment number 69.

    I concur with all the posters on here rightly praising the German model regarding fan participation in the running of their clubs.The problem here is that too many English football fans blindly welcome with open arms the big money foreign owners without thinking about the possible long term implications fot their club, they just envisage big name signings and winning trophies are all too easily seduced by their promises.In contrast, German fans generally speaking are far more enlightened and believe their clubs should have a sense of purpose and values that is meaningful and goes beyond the obsessive winning is everything mentality that pre-occupies the mind of too many in this country.

  • Comment number 70.


    Give me all your hard-earned cash and I'll blow it on fast cars and hot'd tell me where to go.


    do that every week! Think of what you could do with the could buy semi-nice class and get semi-hot women!

    I despair.

  • Comment number 71.

    No. 58
    Sorry but who are your world class players at central midfield, right wing and left back?

  • Comment number 72.

    What do we, the fans, want more:

    4-6 club sides regularly doing well in the two UEFA competitions?

    the England side to be a force in the international game, which it hasn't been since about 1970?

    If the first, then carry on as now, with Sky financing a league which is in reality a global business employing global players, that happens to conduct its public events in England.

    If the second, then a coaching system as good as Germany's is needed. Read the first paragraph of #38 and think just how many UEFA-qualified coaches would be needed to achieve that. Major, major investment which the EPL would NEVER agree to finance (e.g. through a levy) because it's actually against the top clubs' financial interests for more top-quality English players to appear. It would mean fewer foreign players were needed and the income from TV rights, sponsorship and merchandising, huge in Asia and the Middle East, would stagnate.

  • Comment number 73.

    As a German, I'm started to lough about this journey. A few years back the German DFB parted the Bundesliga(1.,2.,3.), now called as the DFL, and the rest called Amateurs(Regionalliga ...)cause the big Clubs wanted to have more influence(money) and stabil conditions. Nowadays it is nearly impossible to switch from the Amateurs to the professional fotball leagues.
    The amateurs get TV money from mainly from the national broadcaster ARD. In the Regionalliga it is around 90k€ for the hole season.
    Aaand most clubs in the Regionalliga(all over the country) are against the Amateur Teams from the Bundesliga Clubs which play also in these leagues.

    The youth system is not that great as you Britains think it is. Bayern Munich bought players like Klose and Gomez from other Clubs as they did with several other. Here in Germany as a Bundesliga Club you must have a youth system center to get your Licence from the DFB, but many of the clubs use to have it for only alibi. In fact the Bundesliga is the EPL in small. Only the really cheap ticket prices is the one thing I'm proud of. 10€(terrace) for Bayern vs Dortmund is great.

    The 50+1 rule in Germany had some critics last year mainly from the Hannover 96 President Martin Kind and Hoffenheim "Owner" Mr. Hopp. They want that change to get more influence like in England. But the lower leagues Bosses pleated against that. Good so... for now.

    In Germany it is not that shiny everybody think that is. I think, England must find their own way to get out of this mess.

  • Comment number 74.

    #68, as long as the majority of PL fans think like you do there will be no recovery of the England team no matter what the FA, PL, or FL do.

  • Comment number 75.

    64 Really, so we should follow Spains model? (EC and WC winners)
    Outside of Barcelona and Real who in the Spanish League can consistently match up to Man City or Man Utd Or Arsenal or Spurs or even Chelsea.

    All the 'Best' players do not end up in Spain, Unless HUUUUGE transfer sums are made. The same as here.

    After all that is said why are we following Germany again? because if our league are B-standard then surely germany's Leagues are C, Based on Success of the last 10 years as opposed to our league and Spains. or lets nor forget Italy (champions league winners with barely an Italian in the Team)

    Are we really the only Country with a problem?

    You have to make a choice Internation football (Germans Model) or Club Football (Spain, us, Italy's)

  • Comment number 76.

    Plus We haven't won anything in International football since 1966, Yet people accuse the PL of ruining our international team yet that didn't happen till nearly 28 years later. Movie title there

  • Comment number 77.

    #68 - Nani
    'england are rubbish, we have no english players based overseas to learn about other cultures and style. but as far as im concerned, the last world cup worth watching was USA 94 and that was first world cup.'

    Agree about the first bit - but USA 94???? You are joking? Generally the ones held in Europe are the better ones - Italia 90, France 98, Germany 06. (And not just because England weren't at 94)

    World cups should just be held in Europe with it going elsewhere 1 in 3 times. Bit controversial mind ;-)

  • Comment number 78.


    O.K maybe the example is not a 100% on, no example is. Please don’t pick holes in the example and treat it as just that and accept the main point.

    The main point is that English football has not been focused on a long term plan because the people that should be making the plan are stuck in their ways. The fact that Arsenal have not won anything in recent years is a hole in the example.
    . Wouldn’t you prefer England to play skilful football and go out in the Semi Finals play the way they do now and be a laughing stock?

  • Comment number 79.

    At 12:56pm on 24 Jan 2011, strcprstskrzkrk wrote:
    The "simple" solution would be to reduce the pay of players & managers alike and reduce transfer fee costs as well as vastly reducing/eliminating agent fees.

    That will never ever happen but it is realistically what is needed.

    No-one needs to earn £140,000 a WEEK, combined with the £million transfer fees. That's money that could be better spent in the current economy (different subject altogether).

    If players earned £140,000 a YEAR and transfer fees were capped in the £1000's not £millions then clubs would have to spend much, much less. This way, tickets would be cheaper, merchandise could be cheaper.

    The pressures on the clubs to spend would be far less and it would actually increase the competition in the leagues as money wouldn't be the be all and end all.

    I fear that all of these ideas and discussion points we're having about the state of football are about 20 years too late.


    You are putting the cart before the horse. What you are suggesting is that businesses deliberately lower their turnover and therefore their profits for the good of the customer which of course no business will ever do.

    It wasn’t just decided one day that players should be paid hundreds of thousands a week and that costs should rise to pay for it. The money coming into football has skyrocketed and its only simple economics that as valuable commodities, these players can charge so much for their services. It’s where the money is coming from that is the issue.

    Ticket prices have been rising since terracing was replaced, the TV market has driven up adverting costs and the Sky Sports juggernaught drove up the income even further. Tickets, Sky Sports and merchandise is only so expensive because fans have shown they continue to bend over and will keep paying the exorbitant costs associated with following a team.

    If fans want this to stop, they have to vote with their wallets. Stop buying tickets, stop buying a new shirt every year and stop paying for Sky Sports. Until then, the PL and a select few clubs will continue to rake it in and have no incentive whatsoever to change the way they do business and the fans will continue to suffer.

    Unfortunately this won’t happen. Too many people are under the delusion that the club they follow is part of their community, values their support and that by supporting the team they are somehow part of the club. People need to understand we are just customers, just a number on a spreadsheet and another cash cow to milk and only by withholding our custom will these businesses listen to us.

  • Comment number 80.

    I stopped reading here.
    "German football has long been considered the role model for other countries to follow. Officials there make a greater investment in youth development, have strict quotas on foreign players in the Bundesliga and boast tighter club ownership rules that prevent any one "outside" investor from holding more than 49% of the shares in a club."

    From the Bundesliga website.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    How many EU- and non-EU foreigners are allowed to play in the Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga?

    At the start of the 2006/2007 season the limitation for foreign players has been removed, as decided by the League Association and the DFB (German Football Association) during a general meeting on December 21, 2005. It will be replaced by UEFA's local player rule to benefit junior players, which was introduced by UEFA at the start of the 2006/2007 season. The currently existing limitation on non-EU players has been removed.

  • Comment number 81.

    I hear people saying that players deserve their big wages, its utter nonsense.
    And as proof I'd like you to look at the finances of every top football club. Can you explain me why they all have such big debts?

    Simple : Player wages.

    Players do NOT earn back the money for the club, thats just not true.

    If they received proper and decent wages most clubs would be financially healthy but the players are draining every penny out of the clubs.

  • Comment number 82.

    Simply, if you limit wages, the highest paid players will leave (be realistic, if someone was going to pay you a lot more for doing the same job in Spain or Italy, you would take it).

    Sure, that will mean we have (potentially) more English players in first team PL football teams. However, it will more than likely bring the quality of the PL down, not the quality of English players up.

    You cant have the PL what it is now and limit wages. It just doesn't work like that.

  • Comment number 83.


    I personally think the way we played in the world cup was not down to the PL but due to Capellos squad and Tactics chosen.

    We need a goal he brings on Heskey. Really??
    Have Lampard and Gerrard ever played well together, did anyone mention Gerrard playing along side Rooney? (with 20 mins to go was it not worth a shot?)

    Was Rooney even fit?

    Not being a armchair pundit as nearly every ex professional footballer were saying the same things all the way through the Tournament.

    I'm not the biggest fan of say Darren Bent but surely he should have been picked ahead of Heskey.
    Also defensively we were a shambles and no creative touch to your play is going to better horrendous defending.

    We done well in EURO 96 with a team England based bar Gascoigne (who at that time was at Rangers)

    Drop the big names and build a team from scratch, Some of the old names may creep/stay in but BUILD a TEAM, not this slapdash put together a team for the qualifiers and dump them for Beckham (who despite getting injured would have probably have been picked)

  • Comment number 84.

    Pastymeister wrote:
    Didn't the FA copy France's academy set up when they won back to back tournaments 98-00? It's no guarantee of success - which is probably more reliant on random genetic influences rather than careful planning.

    Very good post - the new FA Academy was going to be at Burton wasn't it? Unfortunately the FA canned that so they could build a shiny new stadium that's hard to get to and whose grass wouldn't grow.

  • Comment number 85.

    David - your quote " And while this inquiry is not going to be an inquest into what is wrong with the FA...."
    I am afraid that unless it is exactly that, an inquest into what is wrong with the FA! Then it will get us precisely..... nowhere? The Governance and Management of Football in this country will go around and around and around...again...and again... etc.
    However I suppose that 'Turkeys never vote for Christmas' .... so why should we be surprised!!

  • Comment number 86.

    England players often seem to be jaded by the time they start playing in finals tournaments. The last world cup particularly so.

    Generally speaking, I suppose 9 months of non-stop domestic and European slog following immediately by the pre-tournament training camp isn't designed to freshen them up is it.

  • Comment number 87.

    There are too many teachers(coaches, parents, fans, agents) for youth football in this country. let the kids be themselves at their develpment age and they would adopt new technical skills themselves, which will be the drive for footballing success, not clubs/agents who flaunt them with academies and monies. The worlds' best footballers of recent/older years Pele, Platini, Best, Maradona, Romario, Zidane, Ronaldo, Ronadinho ... did not attend academies, they played their football on the streets and beaches with and round object they could adapt as a ball.
    In this country it is believed that football could be only learned at academies and played in designated areas, with most inner city green fields having signpost in bold letters 'NO BALL GAMES'. How are kids/youths going to be able to have the freedom to enjoy their football between themselves?
    In this country it money & fame come before actual development and success that is why there is very little skill seen in our young players. A young player has a half decent game and he is all over the news (David Bentleys & Milners, etc). The FA, PL, English managers, press and the fans are all guilty, and is only when all learn their lesson that we are going to have an improved team. Its about time all take a lesson from the ECB & cricket, rugby, & cycling teams. All winners, not 1 individual let themselves into the limelight by giving their soul to the press, but rather worked hard behind the scenes and achieved the success they deserved

  • Comment number 88.

    Ahh, and this is in addition to the MP's who called for an inquiry into why we didn't win the World Cup bid?
    Did no one listen or see the signs with that? (South Africa and then Brazil? - I'm sure I heard nearly in every report from S.A. that Blatter wanted to break new ground, or similar, so was it really a surprise? But no, I'm sure we need to waste even more than the few million pounds already flushed down the tubes, to see in flowery-200-page-report-language written by "consultants", that essentially people who wanted free gifts and a few back handers, lied, to keep everyone hanging on.)

    Perhaps MP's were not watching the world cup coverage after England's "magnificent" campaign either. If they had tuned in, the BBC ran a 15 minute piece, with interviews from Jurgen Klinsmann - who spearheaded the German revival (if they ever really needed one) and the head of the Barcelona youth academy. Here they laid out in simple terms what needs to be done. So simple even my 4 year old god-daughter could understand it

    I'm sure someone in the archives department can dig up the piece I am on about and pass it on to the MP's in question.

    But no, what we need is the government to spend more of taxpayers money on trips abroad, then spend a further 6 months on consultancy fees, to compile a report which they will then send to the Private Limited Company the F.A.

    Who, as has been the case in the past, will change nothing and ignore (as is their right to do so - despite the fact it makes us fail) external pressure from the government How long was Trevor Brooking calling for the youth system to be overhauled? Has anything really happened with that? No.

    The F.A. need to go on this trip, not a committee of MP's. Then they need to ACT. Simple as that really.

    As someone already said, the sooner someone recognises that ex-players need greater involvement within the F.A. hierarchy, or someone with actual common sense; (like me, go on, I'll do the job.) instead of career "executives" - think Corzier: head of the F.A. to head of the Post Office, (WHAT?) or any politician for that matter.

  • Comment number 89.

    The problem is grass roots football, not enough money is put in. My step brother coaches at open age level & the changing facilities, pitches etc are a joke! Stop paying the players to play for England, pulling on the shirt should be enough & it would also prove who actually wanted to play for England. Put that money saved back into facilities, free coaching for the people who give up their spare time to help teams.
    As it all being foreigners fault because there are so many in the PL etc, I find that a nonsense. If our youngsters can't from the world class foreigners in the PL etc then they are simply not good enough.
    Players wages is another laughable excuse, if a company offers me 10 times what I am currently on, I am not going to say actually I don't think I'm worth it, so why should footballers be any different it is simple economics. Or is it just that a lot of British people are jealous of successful people instead of aspiring to it.
    I don't go to watch the PL, don't have Sky or ESPN & the last replica shirt I got my dad got me 20+ years ago, so I have voted with my feet unless you lot do the same nothing will change. Watch it in the pub with a few beers if need be or support a local team in a lower division, they need the money more.

  • Comment number 90.

    When English youth development is up to scratch, then Premier league teams will start playing more English players in their starting 11s in due course.

    Why do Premier League teams (in general, for example safc is an exception) have so many foreign players? Because English youth coming through grass roots is not good enough.

    Sort out grass roots, and you will see more English talent.

  • Comment number 91.

    I can see the words 'FF' Fat Fail written all over this weak attempt

  • Comment number 92.

    The usual knee jerk reaction about players earning too much are plainly wrong as many here have pointed out. In the 44 years since a home nation won a senior international tournament, the relative pay of players has gone from nothing (compared to those from other countries) to the position now where an uncapped player at a relatively humble team can forget owning a porsche that had been left in a foreign country. Regardless of whether or not you find it an obscene amount (I do)it is a fact that earlier international players who chose to demonstrate their wealth by owning a capri, were every bit as unsucessful as their exponentially richer descendants.

    Anyone would find it hard to argue with the brilliant list at #11, however, my guess is that all of us could add to the list.

    Are the FA by and large ineffective? I dont know them individually nor what they do, however, I suspect that there are a lot of hard working people within the FA who do a fantastic job for the game. However, the FA are doomed to be ineffective due to the fact that they have absolutely no say in how the highest level of English football is run.

    What of the EPL? The improvement of the national team and the development of English born players at the expense of non-English born is not in the interest of the largely foreign owned teams that dominate the EPL. The EPL has become the most attractive league in the world and has brilliantly developed the brands of the biggest teams within that league. As a result it has turned the best players in that league into world brands themselves. It is a fact that those players seen as the greatest English players that the league has produced have failed at international level, yet they have achieved a world fame far in excess of their achievements on the international stage. Why would the EPL change anything? Why would they allow the FA to tell them how to do anything? Furthermore, it is a fact that the majority of teams within the EPL are foreign owned, what interest do these people have in the success of England at international level?

    The FA has historically been an entirely unprofessionally run organisation. Unfortunately now it has dragged itself up to date (trust me compared to where it was, it really has) and is acting far more professionally that it ever has, it finds that the train has long gone and it's influence on the path of English football is all but gone.

    Finally, how will Government intervention improve things? Historically football does not take kindly to being told by anyone how to do things better, especially if the advice comes from someone who is not seen as a man who has football in his veins. My guess is that the majority reaction within football to someone pointing out how things could be run better is similar to that expected when faced with a woman linesman or a gay player. On top of this, would a government want to legislate against the wishes of the EPL? Like it or not the EPL is a major success of this country (although the Clubs pay surprisingly little tax due to their losses)and who wants to shoot the goose that laid the golden egg?

  • Comment number 93.

    What makes me laugh about all this is that the German model is based on English football, but with tighter financial control.
    If the money is out of control in this country and the German system for producing players is so good why are there hardly any German players in England? Are they so loyal that they don't care about high wages, because if it is, that's what we should be doing.
    Also I don't buy this young exciting team, they lost to the two teams that defended properly. The two "good" results were against teams that defended like clowns. In the World Cup.

  • Comment number 94.

    English football is following the same process as the financial crisis ignited by irresponsible speculation and greediness without any fundamentally solvent structure. I assume we have the same business people and bankiers involved, who feel england is a welcome location to rocket finances and drive clubs into ruins. it´s all quick and dirty - and players are like kids being pushed from one playground to the other.
    don´t we learn anything from the past? I predict the FA and english football will go bust soon, maybe another 2 years left...

  • Comment number 95.

    This has nothing to do with pay, would you cap what pop stars or actors can earn?

    The problem is the Premier League and FA are not ran by footballing people but suits who look at the business models rather than the best models for developing the game of football.

    I doubt this type of inquiry will have any impact at all and I question whetehr it is really worth it? It will just be political posturing and something we should not concern oursleves with as true fans.

    The Premier League is so far removed from the fans and real people that they have even trademarked the term Premier League so that it can not be used by people, so technically I think I've breached a trademark here!

  • Comment number 96.

    The cash-driven impetus of the EPL seems irreversible to me; a microcosm of a free-market economy. I'm not particularly left-wing oriented so I'm not limbering up for some sort of anarcho-syndicalist tirade ('And their was much rejoicing...' or perhaps not!). But the FA seems constrained to try and have things both ways: the profits generated by a precious commodity and the end-driven strictures of a forward-thinking experiment. Unfortunately the Bundesliga is not a viable commodity in the way that the EPL is. So it's easier to regulate the former than the latter.

    Someone said above that the fans have enough power to vote with their pockets. Did fans provide the clout behind the Bundesliga reforms? I don't the answer. It seems to me that the fanbase of most EPL clubs, and especially the big ones, will typically follow rather than lead. One indication of this tendancy is the reluctance of fans to condemn players with objectionable morals (the subject of a recent BBC blog as I recall).

    Not all fans are fickle and many clubs have well-led official supporters organisations run by intelligent people. But as a rule, once we include within the scope of 'fans' anybody who buys merchandise but not tickets, fans will remain passive consumers of a hyper-inflated product. So I'm not holding my breath for the glorious Revolution of the People's Fans.

    And as for constructive change for the good of the glorious People's Team of England, that requires giving up the privilige of immediate gratification catered for almost exclusively by satellite TV.

    Of course I could be wrong, but I envisage tokenism resulting from this enquiry. Nothing more when what is needed is a cultural revolution.

  • Comment number 97.


    Good lord, it seems that I'm an anarcho-syndicalist after all. Must go and look up what it means in the dictionary!

  • Comment number 98.

    Steve are you for real??

    I love how everyones answer is to drop people like Rooney, the guy is only in his mid 20s and still has a lot to learn and who exactly will we replace him with, who is the same quality as him? same with gerrard, who will replace him??

    this happened when Mclaren dropped beckham and everyone read the paper and thought "yeah lets agree with the paper!" then it all hits the fan and the paper call for becks back and next thing you know so do the fans!

    all this so called lack of passion is daft, what exactly would you wanna see to think they were showing passion?? it's not like they can jump into the crowd or anything! so because apparently theres more passion on a sunday football league game you would rather see them in the world cup??

    if capello listened to you people and did it, you'll take one look at the paper, see that they are calling him an idiot or something and you'll agree with it!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Is it churlish to point out that Germany only trys to support 56 professional clubs, the top 2 divisions have 18 a piece and the 3rd tier has 20, outside that it is semi professional and amateur. Suggesting that Germany has the answer to putting money into the grass roots is not really comparing like with like, Germany has a far smaller professional structure and a bigger national economy to support them.

    How many of the lower league fans fed up of the Premier League on here want a starting point that England has too many professional clubs to be viable and needs to reduce the size of it's league? You know given Germany has the answer and everything.

  • Comment number 100.

    76. At 2:10pm on 24 Jan 2011, TEXFITS wrote:
    Plus We haven't won anything in International football since 1966...
    And nothing before that either, and the win in 1966 was only because of 2 dodgy goals :) and having played ALL of their matches at Wembley. England have done NOTHING away from home.
    Maybe the Germans could explain how you win things away from home - or maybe they wouldn't want to.


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.