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Are soccer players underpaid? A comparison with U.S. leagues…ison-u-s-leagues/ ‎

In soccer, getting and signing contracts is still the wild west. There is no salary cap. There’s no player’s union. Players have very little leverage and what ends up happening is the players get underpaid.

So while you see massive transfer figures going on this summer, remember that the players see none of that money. It’s just billion dollar clubs trading millions and the player can’t get a bit of the money he just made the club he was sold from. Money in soccer is bigger than ever before yet the players seem to be getting less of the pie as the pie is getting bigger.

How is it that the global game in a globalized society is falling behind the American league in Average salaries and in highest salaries paid out?

So when people say a player is valued at over $100 million, he gets none of that money. Players are getting less portion of the revenues and it can be seen when you compare it to the American leagues. While you see the average salary keep getting raised in baseball and basketball, in Soccer it’s barely a gap and it’s  less than noticeable. All the money is ending up in transfer fees and in the hands of a billionaire instead of in the players who actually put in the hard work.

European Leagues compare to American Leagues

soccer players underpaid
Even though Messi signed a mega contract this summer most players in La Liga make less than $1milion (image: Getty Images)

If you compare the English Premier League’s average salary with that of the other leagues it dwarfs the rest of Europe. In the United States, the NFL is considered the worst paying of the major sports with no guaranteed contracts and an average salary of $2.4 million, yet only one soccer league in the world passes it.

The EPL passes it with the average salary of $3.2 million. La Liga is the next closest falls behind with just $1.6 million.

What factors into these numbers is the TV rights money not being shared. In England, money is shared equally among teams in the league and its the reason is the only league close to the American ones.

In Spain Real Madrid and Barcelona get most of the money and it creates a massive difference with the clubs they are competing against. This explains why the league has the lowest median salary. While Barcelona and Madrid have two of the highest payrolls in all of sports, only eight Spanish teams boast an average salary of over a million. Barca or Madrid’s payroll is bigger than the bottom ten teams combined and money would be left over.

Top Salaries compared

soccer players underpaid
Steph Curry makes $12 million more than any player in the EPL. (images: Getty Images)

Yet looking at these numbers, you want to think at least the highest-paid player’s contracts in soccer must be around the same as any other sport. Nope, and it’s not even close.

Paul Pogba is the highest-paid player in the EPL. He cost Manchester United over $100 million last transfer window and will make less money in his contract than Jrue Holiday. That’s right, one of the best soccer players in the world will make the same money as the starting point guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year.

So while of course, it is not like soccer players are not getting good money, but the transfer fees keep rising and the reach of the game is growing by the year. Why aren’t players receiving more of the pie? The EPL is the highest-paying soccer league in the world and even its top grossing players aren’t close to the money other athletes are getting.

The global sports, like soccer, should bring the most in terms of players wages and rights, yet they are trying to play catch up with American leagues’ systems. The worst part of it all is there really isn’t a soccer player’s union that fights for the rights of the players. So the money of everything will keep staying in the owner’s hand and the player will be stuck having no leverage and using rumors to get bigger deals done.


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