in Sport

Professional sport isn’t all richly rewarded

The news that the footballer Carlos Tevez is making £615,000 a week in China has stunned the world. But athletes in other professional sports are not well paid, writes Ellie Fox

We always have the earnings of footballers shoved frustratingly under our noses via a sleazy tabloid headline or a critical report. Not surprisingly, as we are all aware of this absurdity, Carlos Tevez (Shenhua FC) walks home laughing with a staggering £615,000 a week (according to TotalSportek’s database) being the current highest-earning player in the world. Although predominantly viewed as outrageous, little is seen to be done about this- wage reductions are rare unless performance worsens.

There isn’t a sport that is even remotely notorious for these huge wage packets in comparison. In fact, generally we are unaware of the sums of money fellow athletes earn. You’d expect them to be relatively high but often they aren’t at all. In fact, shockingly, the UK is the only country that doesn’t pay candidates to compete in the Olympics even though it is such a romanticized event and we are deemed a patriotic country.

Indeed, this is quite unfair, considering the amount of training required for such a high level international event. I suppose the sportsmen and women do it for the pure experience, recognition and enjoyment. It’s a good thing this is not apparent in every competition.

Equestrianism is labelled a ‘middle class’ sport for the privileged. Caring and training such large domestic animals is both time consuming and leaves a large hole in your pocket. Yet the average salary is said to be $30,000 per annum (figure for 2014 according to SimplyHired) with expenses deducted. Of course, many show jumpers on the gravy train earn a substantial advance on this figure, but isn’t it alarming when the stereotype is so far from the reality?

Olympic gold-medallist Scott Brash, 31, was said to be the highest earning show jumper in the world in 2016, earning £1.5 million in prize money last year (according to an ITV report) but this is still measly in comparison to the weekly sum aforementioned that Tevez receives on a weekly basis, and it costs remarkably more to fund a show jumping career than a football player; there is profoundly more than just the one party involved.

So why is there such discrimination? Shouldn’t there be a sports-related sense of equality? I comprehend some sports are more popular than others- welly-throwing doesn’t exactly make the Olympics- but those that are considered professional should have a similar wage bracket, because after-all, who really has the moral authority to decide that one equally skilful athlete deserves to earn more than another?

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