I don’t understand “artificial” as a criticism of socialist style leveling mechanisms in sporting competition. It assumes that a free market “everyone for themselves” approach is somehow “pure”. How so? However you structure a pro league we’re a long way from teams comprised of lads solely from surrounding villages topping up their full time wage etc. EPL would be a prime example of the exact opposite of my favoured NFL/NRL “artificial” type format where free market capitalism runs wild and the best players simply run to the elite sides, earning more money quite often to play less. So how is Man Utd gobbling up Ferdinand, Rooney, Valencia, Young, Jones, Zaha (and on and on and on) from lesser competitors over recent years any less “artificial” than leveling mechanisms to ensure said teams have a fighting chance of keeping them?
We’re talking about entertainment at the end of the day and the best way to excite and grow your fanbase is to spread your best players around your league, ensuring they both play more and better earn their corn pitting their wits against each other, rather than cowardly buddying up and running over stiffs 75% of the time. There will always be academies with home grown players to provide the more “pure” element of SL sides that we all of course like (this in fact is where we can be superior to the US sports – we don’t need a draft system, I agree) but again you only reinforce the strength of that “purity” by being fairer across the board. Scott Taylor staying at Hull KR rather than ditching for the glory of table-topping Wigan I would argue would be substantially LESS artificial. And how many Wakey & Cas lads have been lost to Leeds post-1990? etc. These instances are rife in free market leagues, which are only as “pure” as ruthless capitalism in its base form. To me that is not very pure at all. “Unhindered” might be a better word. “Artificial” mechanisms in many situations keep those lads where they belong. “Go figure” as they doubtless say on the NFL forums.
It’s swings and roundabouts. Neither style is pure. We’ve moved past that. And you say artificial, I just say “fair play” and reining in the worst elements of capitalism that have made the Euro soccer leagues so dull. We’re talking about big money pro sport and prime athletes making careers out of their talents for our enjoyment. Forget about spurious notions of “artificial” and “pure”. Just do it well and make sure the dice aren’t loaded, because nobody likes a bully and 4 teams does not a competitive or exciting league make.
Some very good points - artificial may have been a clumsy exp
ression, as you are quite right, there is very little that is 'natural' about the current set up. I don't agree that the capitalist system is less natural though, as ultimately all clubs are treated the same and have the same opportunities (but let's not get too bogged down by that!).
I am not against radical suggestions in general, I support the salary cap, was happy to see licensing given a go, and would now go even further with the structure of the leagues, which would certainly be seen as radical. I would be happy to have a draft system, although I'm not that sure how it could work.
I'd have no issues with the central funding being split evenly (including the 'prize' money) - I wasn't that aware there was such an inbalance, and tbh I'm not convinced it is massive.
I think there are certain things that 'feel' right - a salary cap to prevent overspend etc. is one of these things. I do however think that we need to give clubs as much freedom as possible within some of the rules we have. Giving lower clubs more money doesn't feel right on any level to me, however a flat rate would be fine in my eyes.
Also - you state in an earlier point that I generally disagree with your levelling proposal - that isn't the case at all, not sure if you are confusing me with somebody else, I enjoy your posts and suggestions irrespective of whether I agree.
I think there are plenty of socialist elements we can bring into our game before we go quite as radical as paying bottom teams most etc.