yesterday, UEFA president Michel Platini was tsk-tsk-ing the whole damned thing.
Platini is watching his European football empire crumble about him as the game's biggest stars are garnering ridiculous transfer fees and are paid outlandish salaries.
He told L'Equipe:
“I think something is not right. I don’t like it. What I don’t like either is that nowadays, contracts only seem to be signed to be broken. On the other hand, if clubs have the money, what can I do about it? Personally I can’t understand that you spend 90 million Euros for just one player. But I also remember the transfer of Diego Maradona, who joined Napoli from Barcelona for 6.5 million Euros in 1984. The money for Ronaldo will be the equivalent, more or less, of what was paid at the time. Back then, people thought it was excessive too."
The key takeaway there isn't the big money, but the fact that contracts are paper tigers. They mean zilch. Players sign for three, four, five seasons, but at the first hint of success, they want out--and the clubs are usually willing to accommodate them because they giant transfer fee will enable them to either buy or develop more players, who will eventually be sold as well, and the vicious cycle continues.
Platini desperately wants parity in football. He's making the road into the Champions League easier to travel for smaller clubs, and to be honest, that's not a bad thing. But sticking his nose into the personal business dealings of private enterprises is another thing. If Real Madrid and Manchester United want to spend themselves into oblivion and rack up debt like yellow cards, they should be able to do so without the UEFA president speaking out. Let them fail fiscally on their own accord.
If Platini wants parity, then institute an UEFA-wide salary cap. Go ahead, try it. Florentino Perez already is making a call for a European Super League and says if UEFA won't sanction it, he'd like to see the participants break away and form the league on their own.
Platini's intentions on the surface may be honorable, but I don't think it's his place to legislate fiscal responsibility. When he invests in Real Madrid or any other of the big spenders, then he can have such a say. Until then, not so much.