Arguably the best football player in the world today, the Portuguese Luis Figo, currently playing for Real Madrid, says that he will play football until he is 32 years old and not a day more : “Nowadays, football does not move the heart” as it used to. When players and managers receive salaries of 10,000 USD per day, which is the case (at least) in the richest football clubs in Europe, it is easy to see that the heart gives way to the bottom line of the accounts book. While it is true that football as a profession has a short life at the best of times and a very short life at the worst (if a player is seriously injured), it is also true that people nowadays start to compare their salaries and what they have to do to receive them, with a football player’s salary…and the comparative effort he has to make to receive his 10,000 USD per day. It is then not surprising that numbers of spectators are falling, especially if we add the component of crowd behaviour, which seems to be getting worse instead of better. Indeed, football these days does not move the heart…it moves the dollar. Those who seem to be benefitting from this also seem to be playing with the sentiments of the football fans who sacrifice good money to see the millionaires on the field.

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Lisbon