For those of us who are sport fans we may have noticed that worldwide sports has been corrupted over the past few years by commercialism and drug abuse by athletes. Love of money (the root of all evil) is making a nonsense of competitive sport.
COMMERCIALISM OF SPORT
Professional sport has always been played for reward, though not for very much. But in the 1980’s there was a great influx of investment in worldwide sport notably cricket, soccer and athletics.
In cricket, an Australian Television tycoon named Kerry Packer, hired the best players in the world to play cricket in Australia and paid them exorbitant money in a sport which had hitherto been starved of resources. Packer cricket lasted only about 3 years but the Packer revolution as it was called had ignited a spark in players to go after big bucks wherever and however it could be found – ‘Have Bat Will Travel’. So we had rebel tours to apartheid South Africa by some West Indian players as they went in search of their kruggerands and other players were caught ‘selling’ matches. Money had come into the game to stay and some cricketers now earn $1.55 million for a five week season (World’s Top – Earning Cricketers by Schwartz & Smith 2009), a far cry from yester year.
In athletics, investment was restricted originally because athletes were amateurs and could not be paid but they soon found a way around that by setting up trusts which could receive the payments on their behalf. Also, the line between the amateur and the professional is breaking down as the International Olympic Committee is increasingly letting in professionals in events such as soccer, tennis and basketball because they have commercial appeal i.e. put a line of clothes on them, put them before the cameras and everybody will rush in to buy. In any event lots of athletes are now turning professionals.
In soccer, there has been a similar inflow of money as rich businessmen from East Europe, America and the Middle East are buying up top clubs in Europe and then buying the top players wherever they can be found. All done with one goal i.e.to win. Another popular form of investment is through sponsorship, for example a company will bankroll a team and in return stipulate the terms on which that team participates in games and competitions. Soccer players’ salaries now average $14.67 million a year (How Much Do Soccer Players Earn? by K. Madden). Club Directors also do well for themselves by selling their shares in top clubs (China Daily by Geoffrey Wheatcroft 2007).
Sport is no longer played for the love of the game or staying loyal to your team or fans or even to your country. While the Packer cricketers were negotiating to play for Packer to compete with official cricket they were still playing for their countries. It is a question of ‘show me the money’ and ‘ win at all costs’. There have been numerous cases of cheating, for example the hand of God from Thierry Henry and fake injuries and blood in rugby.
There is now controversy as to whether athletes deserve their million dollar contracts. Corporations virtually own the players with tremendous control over them and their sport. Many highly paid 토토사이트 players are not worthy of their status while less popular sports like Brazilian women’s soccer lack the backing they need as they don’t fit the sponsors criteria.
Drug use in sport has been around for a few years but the influx of big money in the last 30 years has greatly fueled the desire to win even if you have to get some help.
This investment in sport has produced big financial rewards for the investors through sponsorships, television rights, advertising, gate receipts etc. It has also helped to improve facilities, provide training and higher incomes for competitors especially in the poorer countries.
But there has also been a downside. There is the tendency now to cheat because of the lucrative rewards that can be gained. Add to this, the rapid advancement in modern medicine and technology so that drug use in sport has now become common place. It can be done as part of Government policy as was done in the former East Germany but more often it is done on an individual level by the competitor with the collusion of the coach and sometimes the sports association.