Manchester City soccer fans will disagree but there was something exquisitely absurd about the apparent refusal of Argentine’s Carlos Tevez to come off the subs bench in the Champions League match away to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
Tevez said later he was “misunderstood” and hadn’t refused to play but manager Roberto Mancini couldn’t have been more adamant that the striker had indeed sat tight.
Estimates of Tevez’s wages vary but it is said to be in the region of £286,000 a week. The deal that brought him to Man City made a dent in the £600 million the club has spent in the transfer market in the last couple of years thanks to its Abu Dhabi backers.
Tevez’s motives obsess sports writers. But it doesn’t matter to me whether his action – or rather inaction - was mere petulance or a canny move in his campaign to quit the club.
The Tevez affair is just the latest example of how money is ruining top flight football in England.
He’s all smiles and goals now, but it wasn’t so long ago that Wayne Rooney wanted out of Man United – or more money.
Premiership players’ salaries would make a banker blush. They outrank managers in influence and their off-field behaviour is often appalling. The time has come to put a ceiling on their wages.
Clubs could use the money they save to lower seat and season ticket prices. It would prevent the same handful of clubs dominating the top spots year in, year out.
Agreement would have to be sought internationally; it might mean players staying more often in their home countries, which is in the long term interests of the game.
Salary caps operate across a variety of sports in North America and in rugby at home. This Wikipedia link looks at the pros and cons. Clearly introducing a cap would be difficult for a sport that cannot agree on the introduction of goal-line technology let alone levelling the pay of soccer stars.
But the status quo isn’t an option. There is a serious side to the Tevez/Mancini spat.