Opinion: Footballers’ Fundamental Funds and British Armed Forces’ Pittance

Allow me to impress upon you some information, which may or may not surprise you. Mr. Lionel Messi is a professional football player, one with magical feet who plays spectacular football. This man earns the basic salary of 16 million euros per year, this is not including the various sponsorship deals he gets, and he will more then likely this year receive a total income of around 25 million euros. Many view him as the best footballing entity the world has seen for quite some time. A British Army infantry private on the other hand, is prepared to lay down his life for Queen and Country earns  a yearly wage of £17,515. Now ask yourself, is there any justice in this?

Footballers play a 90-minute match, they provide a great spectacle in which one team wins and the other team fails; they are all revered as icons, as legends, their pockets laced with more money then you could fit in your garden shed. They train for a few hours a day with their team, and then they can proceed with pouring the tidal wave of cash they have into anything which they so please. Even players who do not actively play every game for their club, substitutes for instance, will still gather a tremendous lump sum for each match within which they attend. A British Soldier doesn’t ‘play’ for 90 minutes. For a British Soldier training is a way of life, for a British Soldier preparing for war all day is as normal as a flame is to a lit candle. They get back from training after enduring arduous assault courses, torturing track runs and exhausting endurance courses. They finish the day with blisters on their feet knowing that they are going to have to wake up and repeat the process again in the morning. When they have completed their training, they are specialists; war is as natural to them as a jungle is to a tiger.

Footballers get a mass amount of media coverage; they are always in the newspaper, on the TV, on the radio and there are shows dedicated to them. They’re celebrities, many of them sporting their own scent to sell to the public. The Military get very little coverage for the work they do, and although some people such as Ross Kemp have ventured in to the relatively undiscovered world of being a British Soldier, it is safe to say that the general public cannot begin to fathom the gore and horrors these remarkable heroes witness every day of their lives for 6 months at a time. Again the question surfaces, is playing Football really deserving of the immense wages it receives? Have you ever heard of a footballer suffering mental trauma as a result of playing the sport?

Even other public service workers such as firefighters, show an abundance of courage to risk their lives to save other people and to make a real difference to the world. If you don’t believe this just look up Nick Jordan on Google, and tell me when you’ve seen a footballer display such acts of heroism. Firefighters do not earn a great deal more than British Soldiers, yet the dedication and bravery required for that job is top notch. I am an avid football fan, and I am not in any way knocking the sport, however I do personally believe that there is a major flaw in society, to allow footballers to earn so much, whilst more deserving individuals will not make in their entire lives what Mr. Lionel Messi makes in 3 weeks. This flaw however cannot be blamed on anyone but we football fans, the ones who will gladly fork out £3000 of our well-earned money for a season ticket and not think anything of it. To support our idols and cheer them on, providing the capitalist motto of “you make what you earn”, we fuel the footballing industry with the excessive wages to buy the cars and houses we can only dream of. However, not nearly enough many is provided to the Ministry of Defense, funding the British Forces, society is quick to moan about the lack of resources and budget cuts which the Military and the Public Service Sector has been suffering, but I’m willing to bet that 45% of us would quickly tell the Government where to go if they suggested a drastic increase on tax for the Public Services.

I am not in any way trying to degrade the footballing industry, I think these individuals work and train to become the best they can, and should reap some rewards as every dedicated successful individual should. But society needs to place more priority on the necessities of life, and without certain public services such as firefighters and ambulance staff, the fabric of society would disintegrate. It’s not just those in footballing industry who flash more cash than they should; professional boxer Floyd Mayweather has been seen ‘flinging’ notes at spectators who watch him fight live, and burns $100 notes just to prove a point that he is well off. I would like you to have a think about Mr. Floyd Mayweather and Mr. Lionel Messi living in their luxurious Mansions, not having a care in the world, and then I would like you to think about a member of the British Armed Forces; someone you know, a family member, a friend, a loved one, who is currently laying dead still in a tent, not knowing whether tonight will be the last time they ever gaze upon the beautiful moon; which in their minds is tainted red. When they come home from a tour they can think about how to spend their annual wage of £17,515 wisely, I don’t quite think this will be a concern for Mr Messi. Once again I ask, where is the justice in this?

By Karl Hobbs

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Denis Dervisevic

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