Debating Society: Salary Caps for Sportspeople?
In what seemed to mark a momentary shift away from debating constitutional dilemmas, the Debating Society today turned its attention towards the morality and ethical implications of what have been labelled exorbitant salaries of renowned sports stars. The motion, proposed by Abbi and Lucy of BSG and opposed by Tom and Neeraj of BS, was:
“This house would introduce salary caps for sportspeople”
Opening the discussion, Abbi steered proceedings immediately towards the morality of material gain at the expense of “young players taking part in grassroots sport.” The current monopoly of good players presided over by four wealthy Premier League clubs was, in her eyes, negatively effecting the predictability of football since viewers now “know which side will win.” Hidden in a hard hitting blizzard of statistics, the fact that the most valuable stars can earn “five million pounds per year whilst sleeping” highlighted the perceived disparity she proposed closing.
Tom – labelled “impatient” by Mr. Bonds due to his decision to stand before being formally introduced – used his first minute to fact-check a claim made by the proponents. “£900 million of the £5 billion generated by Premier League broadcasting deals went to helping grassroots sport” he asserted, before justifying the high salaries of athletes because of the “huge dedication” needed to perform at a competitive level. He went on to describe the proposed salary cap as a measure that would “sap money from all level of sport” instead of only deterring the richest players.
The proposition’s last plea to the bulging audience continued where the first had ended, principally attacking materialism, gender inequality and relative value of labour as reasons to cap pay. Lucy condemned sportspeople for becoming “excessively materialist” and normalising drug abuse in pursuit of more success and higher income. Furthermore, she accentuated the gap between the salaries of male and female footballers (the latter receiving £26,000 per year) stating how a cap would counteract the disparity. Pitching to the audience, she urged them to vote with her out of “social and moral reasons.”
‘Economics’ would best summarise the speech delivered by Neeraj, but only after having accused the girls of “only targeting footballers” as opposed to sport in general. The pay of sportspeople should be decided by the marketplace, he said, defending the uncapped salaries as the consequence of capitalism and the natural mechanisms of the market. Rather than blaming the industry, Neeraj suggested the problem lay closer to home with “consumers paying £24 per month for Sky packages” whilst citing that “70% of the income of Serena Williams emanates from endorsements and sponsorships” not immense salaries.
Questions from the floor were as wide ranging as ever. Valentino Duval asked who would set and enforce the cap and Mr Hubbard supported a salary limit imposed by government since it would merely be an extension of state interference anyway. Most controversially was the intervention of Matty Gardiner who, in agreement with the opposition, implied that public appetite for women’s football is minute. However engaging such contributions were, nothing came close to matching that of a thug armed with a siren which, during the interrogation, was lobbed with great precision into the Lecture Theatre. Evidently triggered, Mr Bonds raised from his stool and marched outside to confront the hooligan, who in the words of the chair “could’ve run away more quickly.”
The motion carried by 57 votes to 46 (BSG victory)