For those of us who are sports enthusiasts, we may have noticed that sport around the world has been spoiled over the past few years due to commercial activity and drug abuse by athletes. The love of money (the root of all evil) is the foolishness of competitive sport.
I’ve always played professional sports for the reward, but not for much. But in the 1980s there was a large influx of investment in world sport, particularly cricket, soccer, and athletics.
In cricket, the Australian television mogul named Kerry Packer recruited the best players in the world to play cricket in Australia and paid them big money in a sport that until now lacked resources. Packer’s cricket only lasted 3 years, but the Packer revolution, as it was called, caused players to chase big money wherever and whenever they found it: “Have Bat Will Travel.” So we went on rebel tours to apartheid South Africa with some players from the West Indies while we searched for their football stadiums and other players were arrested for “selling” matches. The money came into the game to stay, and some cricketers now make $ 1.55 million for a five-week season (World’s Best – Cricketers won by Schwartz & Smith 2009), a far cry from last year.
In athletics, investment was originally restricted because the athletes were amateurs and couldn’t be paid, but they quickly found a way around this by creating trusts that could receive payments on their behalf. The line between amateur and professional is also being broken as the IOC is increasingly allowing professionals in events such as soccer, tennis and basketball because they have commercial appeal, that is, put a clothing line on them and put them in front and everyone will rush to buy. In any case, many athletes now turn to professionals.
In football, there has been an influx of money similar to that of wealthy businessmen from Eastern Europe, America and the Middle East who buy the best clubs in Europe and then buy the best players wherever they are. All with one goal, which is to win. Another common form of investment is through sponsorship, for example, a company will finance a team and, in return, determine the conditions under which that team will participate in games and competitions. The median salary for soccer players is now $ 14.67 million a year (How Much Do Soccer Players Earn? By K. Madden). Club managers also do well by selling their shares in major clubs (China Daily by Geoffrey Wheatcroft 2007).
Sports are no longer played for the love of the game or to stay loyal to your team, your fans, or even your country. While Packer’s cricketers were negotiating to play with Packer to compete with the official game of cricket, they were still playing for their countries. It’s about “show me the money” and “win at any price.” There have been many cases of cheating, for example Thierry Henry’s Hand of God, fake wounds and blood in rugby.
Now there is a debate as to whether athletes deserve their million dollar contracts. In fact, companies own players with massive control over them and their sport. Many well-paid female players do not deserve their status, while less popular sports such as Brazilian women’s soccer lack the support they need because they do not meet sponsor standards.
Drug use in sports has been around for a few years now, but the abundant influx of money in the past 30 years has greatly fueled the desire to win even if you have to get help.
This investment in the sport has generated significant economic rewards for investors through sponsorships, television broadcast rights, advertising, portal receipts, etc., and also helped to improve facilities, provide training and increase the income of competitors. especially in poor countries.
But there was also a downside. Now there is a tendency to cheat due to the lucrative rewards that can be obtained. Add to this the rapid advances in modern medicine and technology, so that drug use in sport is now commonplace. It can be done as part of government policy as it was in former East Germany, but more often it is conducted individually by the competitor with the complicity of the coach and sometimes the sports federation.
Some competitors get away with it while others are out of luck. At the London Olympics, several athletes from various sports were sent home because they had failed drug tests.
Reciprocal accusations and accusations are now so rampant that anyone who performs well is the target of suspicion. US radio is now accusing Jamaican runners of “acts of joke” and claiming that Jamaica’s drug testing system is not complex enough to stop them. But I have not heard of a single case where a Jamaican competitor is “caught” in an international competition. It wasn’t for not trying. At the Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt was tested 34 times.
Money has transcended sports today to the point that every sports story is not about the achievements of athletes, but about how to make money, and this has affected sports organizations as well: wherever there is cheese, you will find mice. Sports polo shirts are not about playing, but about exchanging players. In cricket, limited games have been formed specifically for commercial purposes. The games were originally over 60, but now just 20 as organizers struggle to make a quick buck. At the London Olympics, football matches were interrupted due to advertisements.
Sport is no longer played for fun, but is now a multi-million dollar business. Sports organizers, competitors, the media, and major corporations all contributed to the production of the “show” that we now call sports. The biggest loser is the fan. It’s a shame because for me sport has been one of the last ways to entertain myself.