Friday, March 30, 2007

Uncharitable Football - Margin

Intelligent Giving, a campaign group for charities, has condemned football for not giving a lot more money to worthy causes. And it’s about time too.

It is long overdue that some one finally stood up to football. These scummy companies masquerade as sports teams to steal our money and make rapists into millionaires. And at last some one has exposed them.

With comprehensive figures from eleven such firms, this noble organisation has attacked a sport that is subject to too little scrutiny in every aspect of its business. And the upshot of this investigation is hardly surprising.

Intelligent Giving condemns clubs that donate less in a year than one club pays Schevchenko in a week. It condemns one club in particular for donating just £70,000 to charity despite having a billionaire owner. And it condemns any excuse for this as worthless next to billion pound revenues.

Of course not all charitable work is definable in cash. Players visit schools and hospitals, clubs run football in the community schemes, and both work to assist education schemes for poor kids.

But, Intelligent Giving doesn’t waste time calculating a financial figure for that. And rightly so. We all know that clubs don’t do this benevolently. That is all self interest, helping to hook or retain a lucrative young fan base through subsidised gimmicks.

And the fact that clubs often run up huge losses, or at best small profits, is no excuse at all. After all, a billion pounds runs through their collective coffers each year thanks to massive TV rights deals, corporate sponsorships, and ever rising ticket prices.

Much of that cash goes to footballers who no doubt waste their wages on flash cars and £100,000 watches that are definitely not bought in charity auctions at the Beckham estate.

Would it be so hard to pay these scummy men less to kick a ball around so that more money could go to charity? Most of them aren’t even very good. For every totemic Essien or Drogba is a weak ankled Ballack or Schevo, both of whom are as rubbish as, well, Essien and Drogba were in their first Premiership season.

So ignore the fact that Spurs gave six percent of revenues, or 70 percent of pre-tax profit to their charitable trust, (£4.5million). Ignore the fact that football clubs are in fact quite small businesses in a highly competitive market. Ignore as well that other companies like Sainsbury profit from the good will generated by selling red noses.

Because football is evil. And you must not be allowed to forget it before the next such expose, probably due in three days time.


MotM said...

I'm slightly ill at ease with too much lambasting of football for its lack of charitable good works - although the lack of financial scrutiny is a very good point.

I would very much like to see an analysis of the tax paid by the clubs, the owners, the players etc. If they are using sophisticated tax avoidance schemes (what do I mean, if?) then they should be exposed as such.

Sure there are some greedy types around football (okay, quite a few) but there are guys like this and this and I suppose plenty of others.

bluedaddy said...

Excellent 'mad as hell' voice there Margin.

What these do-gooders dont realise is the time, effort and money it takes to maintain a modern Premiership ego. Time was when a first division footballer would be happy enough with a discount on his Saturday night curry, a quick boogie and a hand shandy from Maureen or Vi at Marbellas Nitespot in Wythenshawe, and the odd brown envelope of grubby tenners to have a mare at Port Vale in the cup.

Nowadays your top footballer is a thoroughbred. Cristal pink champagne, international nightclubbing and a slow, videoed roast with Chardonnay, her geeky mate Carina, and Sammo the reserve left back, if he's still sober enough to take his end.

Footballing charity should begin and end while turning out for England. How else is the nation going to vent its spleen?

andrewm said...

Woah there Margin! Steady on!

You make some good points, but easy up on the generalisations and the hyperbole eh?

I know it's an emotive subject, but you have to be a bit more careful with your choice of language if you want to start a real debate.

Margin said...

In case I missed my mark a little - the emotive language was to mock tabloid style indignation and self righteousness. And the content was meant to stress that football is a ludicrously soft and frankly rather small target for such an ill-researched study that might be better applied to much larger companies than all the premiership teams put together.

having said that - I'm with motm on the tax issue. Arsenal avoided tax illegally for years and years without anyone noticing - and had to cough up £12mil last year as a result. But given how long they got away with it, I can't help think other clubs have probably just not been investigated, rather than presume that no other club did the same.

Oh, and I've met Chardonnay - her geeky freind is more energetic though.

Zephirine said...

Thanks for this, Margin - exposures of corporate greed are always a good thing!

I agree with Mouth that tax avoidance is a major issue, and indeed the general question of where all that football money actually goes - inflated wages don't account for all of it, surely?

The assessment by Intelligent Giving is a bit unfair, I feel. How much is Rio Ferdinand's time worth per hour? If he spends a couple of hours with disadvantaged kids when he could be opening a supermarket for a fee, why doesn't that count as a donation? And one can make fun of Becks auctioning off his spare bling, but he didn't have to do it and he raised a lot of cash. To dismiss this kind of thing as self-interested gimmicks will only antagonise individuals who, while clearly overpaid by most standards, feel that they're doing their bit - better perhaps to praise, and encourage them to do more.

Zeph said...

Ah, right, got it now Margin - sorry, I didn't grasp the parody element of your piece.

There's a whole discussion to be had about corporate giving - people used to do good works because their religion told them to, now companies do enough to enhance their image and no more...maybe this isn't the right place though?

Margin said...

Totally agree Zeph

the super rich used to get old and turn their attention to good works.

They would set up charitable trusts, and housing schemes for the poor, and 101 other great and worthwhile things. And then they'd leave those assets to the church to look after in perpetuity.

now days such people just leave their money to their spoilt "celeb" kids - and even the church has started cashing in on those ancient acts of generosity by selling them off to private companies for big profits. (especially true of a lot of old london housing trusts in recent years).

MotM said...

I find the selling off of assets given as charitable donations scandalous. Okay, I know they can't be locked up in perpetuity, but it's distasteful at best.

I hadn't caught the parody element I'm afraid, but I see it now. With this subject, it's a bit like whoever it was said about doing satire after Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize.

greengrass said...

a quiet word in your ire: lay it on thicker!


mimi said...

Any investigation into the finances behind sport is bound to open up a can of very nasty maggotty worms - which is why of course, no-one ever does it properly.
More cynicism like this won't change anything quickly, but the more fans start posing hard questions, the more difficult it'll become for the bosses to ignore them.

kokomo said...

margin - (smugly) I got the parody element, and thought it was a good argument.

Football, like the government, the nhs and schools is such a soft target, that people can't even be bothered to research an attack.

Andrewm - go home and admonish yourself

or is the easily whipped up reaction part of the parody?

Is the art the reaction to the piece, rather than the piece itself?

i'm going home

guitougoal said...

Football clubs are not non-profits organisation and they perform below their need to cover the expenses.
Consequently Social programs and charities contributions coming from the profits are reduced to a minimum.Only the Federation has the power to
create a mandatory contribution to fund a giving system. But if it's mandatory it's not charity anymore.

Margin said...


couldn't agree more with your list of easy targets.

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions

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