Neoliberalism and Football

Once upon a time there was a football club in a small town.

This was an important local institution owned by their supporters. They paid a monthly quota to watch matches every Sunday; probably their children exercised in the junior echelons; and maybe, even some of them played in the highest team competing with other teams from neighborhooding towns. The club was a social and economic motor of the town  and, since everybody owned a share, they were able to express their opinion about the situation of the club voting for elections. These supporters were not only connected emotionally and financially with the club, but also socially among themselves.

Through hard work (and we hope fair play) they went into the major leagues. But this required a bigger field and expensive players, new training equipment, coaches, public relations, merchandising, etcetera. The neighbors of this town couldn’t possibly pay for such expansion. Thus, to obtain the necessary resources and grow, they contacted local business owners who, in turn, bought the majority of the old and new shares. The football club was privatized and became a company.

To increase the profitability of their newly acquired  “asset”, they increased the price of the season tickets, raised the prices of junior schools and forgot about amateur sections. They effectively terminated social events and prioritized revenue rather than social cohesion. Furthermore, since these few companies owned the majority of the shares, they took the decision of increasing the rates of reinvestment to force smaller owners to sell their shares (and we guess at a ridiculous price).

Now, the supporters are just that: supporters. They don’t own the club but they are still emotionally invested on it. What is more, the private football company expects them to continue paying higher and higher amounts of money –in form of merchandising, tickets, TV royalties, even donations!—without any real benefit except the feeling of virtually belonging to a social collective and having a topic of conversation on Monday morning.

Privatized companies make money out of the feeling of peoples who believe that the city of Manchester is better off because Manchester City plays in China every now and then.

Ludicrous fallacy!

If only this wasn´t happening every other day with health system and public education.


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