As they say, football isn’t Scotland’s national sport, it’s much more important than that. Today as Scottish Football League clubs gather at Hampden for a vote on whether New Rangers should play First Division or Third next season, Brian Smith (@Einveldi on Twitter), a Glaswegian now living in Edinburgh, blogs here about the pay, taxes, and corruption off the pitch.
Taken at face value, the business case for a successful Rangers F.C. is compelling. 46,000 punters paying between £23 and £42 for a ticket 20 or more times a season. The lion’s share of a £16m-per-year television contract. A place in the lucrative Champions League almost guaranteed due to lack of domestic competitiveness. Sponsorship deals. Manufacturing deals. Replica kit sales. Lunchboxes, bedspreads and alarm clocks bearing the Rangers logo.
All of these figures seem impressive but all pale in comparison to the expansion of finances in the English Premier League.
Against a vastly more successful set-up down south (complete with oligarchs and sheikhs propping them up) Rangers tried and struggled to keep up. In order to keep their most talented players, Rangers resorted to paying them English Premiership-type wages.
The finer details of footballers’ contracts are tricky to obtain or decipher but the notoriously detailed fan-researched Football Manager games by Sports Interactive (SI) suggest that even in 2009, when Rangers’ financial situation was becoming increasingly precarious, it was paying at least three members of its playing squad in excess of £25,000 a week.
You have to stop and think about just how much money that is. £25,000 a week is £1.3 million per year, pre-tax. Continue reading