Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Great Debate - Salary Cap or not to Salary Cap?

By Paul Frederickson and Sean Caden

A Game of two Halves will bring you regular debates on topics that YOU can can nominate on the Play the Advantage Internet and Facebook sites. This week Paul and Sean discuss salary cap restrictions on teams in Australia's A-League competition.

I believe that in a perfect world a free-market economy would be the ideal platform for all sectors of society, but in reality it faces many obstacles. After all, most ‘free’ economies have trade-tariffs, quotas and restrictions placed upon countries that import to them. This is no different in the convoluted world of Australian football.

Australia is one of the only countries in the world where four professional football codes compete for the hearts, minds and money of the Australian fans and sponsors. In its latest incarnation the A-League has found this to be especially hard. After 6 seasons the A-League clubs have had multiple owners, clubs buoyed and owned by the FFA themselves and one club has been sacrificed to the football gods, the North Queensland Fury.

All these issues have occurred in spite of the league’s salary cap. Imagine the damage that may have resulted from a free-spending, free-for all. A football nirvana of untold riches is not a reality in this country and nor will it ever be. There are too many competing factors that would prevent this from happening.

There is another factor that concerns me, and we only have to look at Spain’s La Liga and Scotland’s Premier League to see what this issue is. If each team could buy whom they wanted without restriction I believe that this would result in two or three teams dominating the A-League for many years to come. In Spain and Scotland the league have become, outside the top two teams of each league, extremely anti-competitive, predictable and some would say boring. The unpredictability and competitiveness of the A-League is seen by many as its greatest strength.

I am unabashed Brisbane Roar fan and would love them to dominate the A-League for years to come. But even more so I want the league to survive and heaven help us, prosper! Survival and steady growth may not be exciting but they are considered and responsible ways for a league to behave.

Call me boring but I want the best for the game in Australia and if that means that my club has to take turns in winning the competition then I am more than prepared to follow my team win, lose and draw! After all, the losses make the wins that much sweeter comrades!


The last time I looked the Berlin Wall was torn down, The Soviet Union dissolved and with notable exemptions, the free market, globalised economy reigned! Not so in the world of the salary cap. In this world everyone is created equal and sits around the campfire, feeling all warm, fuzzy and SAFE! Professional sport, especially football is based on excellence and aspiration. The "what if" brigade are definitely exponents of the glass half empty theory.

"What if the clubs pay money they can't afford”?

"What if clubs fold"

"We must have sustainability"


Would it be SO wrong to have 2 or 3 Super clubs in Australia? That is the Question! What is SO Wrong with trying to attract the UBER-RICH owners?

Lets get Rock & Roll!

Lets reach for the stars!

Lets not worry about the Doom & Gloom, what if Merchants!

The logic behind this is that we can still encourage Youth, but also lift the overall standard, which in turn will help the Socceroos and make it more attractive for players to stay in the league. The worrying and most telling argument is that we are losing "top shelf" quality players to, in this humble scribe's opinion, the "Lesser League's" of Asia.

Case in point, ex-Roar star Luke DeVere, who is now plying his not inconsiderable talents in the K-League. In Plain terms it's a short career & a player needs to maximize his earning capacity, and the offers received from K-League and the like are vastly superior to their A-League deals!

PS. We Love you Lukey!

If the Status-quo is allowed to continue the A-League could, and in all probability, will become irrelevant in world terms & become a Circus Side show! Essentially any salary cap is a restriction of trade, and if challenged would be deemed Illegal.

Keep going FFA; Chairman Mao would be SO Proud of You!