For some years now, you’ll have heard in pubs across the country the throwaway remark: “Of course, footballers are paid silly money these days.” And it’s true: both pay and transfer fees have skyrocketed in the past decade or two, driven in part by the creation of the Premier League and the huge amount of revenue generated by television deals between Sky, BT, and other media firms. But are footballers paid too much – or too little? This article takes a look at player pay and whether fans should be comfortable with the money sloshing around in the beautiful game today.

Why Players Play

It’s widely regarded as every young lad’s dream to play for their local club – the club they’ve supported since they got to know the beautiful game. Indeed, there are swathes of players across the world, including domestically, who choose to remain at their favourite club all their lives – despite the suggestion that they could move to a bigger team.

In light of this, it does seem unnecessary for many players to receive such high salaries. Shouldn’t they simply be happy that they’re able to play the game they love to a high standard, and in front of millions of fans? Plenty of armchair fans feel so – that money should be no object if the player really does have a love for the game.


One of the best boasts of a football team should be that they’re incredibly meritocratic, as reported by the Independent. In the UK, we’ve consistently seen players from disadvantaged backgrounds working their socks off to win a place in the starting XI of their first team – and going on from there to win national caps and other accolades.

For such footballers, the promise of high wages must factor into their decision to pursue a career in football. We are constantly reminded – through the incredible stories of players like Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford – that families have to make huge sacrifices to get their kids to training. Perhaps it is only fair that they are rewarded for all their hard work – and in turn, families are rewarded – when they make the big time.

Pay Versus Other Sports

Another way to assess whether footballers are paid too much or too little is when we compare the world’s biggest soccer stars with the world’s most popular stars across other sporting disciplines. When we do, as Cash Lady highlights have helpfully shown, footballers rarely feature in the rich lists of sporting icons the world over. It’s far more likely to be MMA and Boxing stars who feature in those lists of top earners.

As such, should we resent footballer pay? Shouldn’t we look to compare their salaries to the fees of other sports stars, to see whether wages are proportional? And, while we’re at it, shouldn’t we take into account the amount of training and sacrifice that goes into the sport – more so than many other jobs in other sectors? Perhaps footballers are paid the right amount for their toils after all.

On balance, it would appear that footballers are paid generous but permissible salaries – though that comment in the pub is unlikely to go away any time soon.