Part of me feels deeply uncomfortable about supporting and watching football.
I’ve especially been feeling it this summer when the team I’ve supported all my life (apart from a brief flirtation with Everton), Tottenham Hotspur stand to make a lot of money from selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
I started reading a book this morning and the mention of Real Madrid in the opening pages made my ears stand up.
‘Despite all the liberal rhetoric about “equality,” who in the world of the media or the academy really believes that the life of a Nepali peasant, say, is as valuable as that of a Hollywood actress or a football star? Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005, killing about 1,300 people, generated forty times more Western print coverage than Hurricane Stan that killed more than 1,600 people in Guatemala a month later. On the same day that the second earthquake struck El Salvador, a soccer game was played between Real Madrid and Lazio. The combined market value of the players on the field was $650 million, slightly less than half of what it took to rebuild the entire physical infrastructure after the earthquake. The press reported the value of the soccer players with enthusiasm bordering on veneration.’
Subverting Global Myths, VInoth Ramachandra
According to this table the combined value of the men who kick a ball around for our entertainment and pleasure in the English Premier League is well over £3,000,000,000. This is not for life or death stuff remember, it is only a game.
Just one of those players, Gareth Bale could be worth over £80,000,000.
Players have this value as well because people like me all over the world watch football and talk about it all the time. Individuals like me do Fantasy Football League or buy football shirts.
So I think that I have a part to play in the valuation of Gareth Bale for a world record fee and I’m not sure how that sits with me as a Christian.