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England’s "Minister of Sport"

2007 November 2
by Skip Sauer

In England, there is a government “ministry” that administers …. err, make that meddles with commercial sport. The mere existence of this agency is as fine an example of government bloat as one could imagine. For further evidence, FT.com gives us some quotes from the head honcho:

Gerry Sutcliffe, the sports minister, on Thursday prompted a furious response from Chelsea after singling the club out in remarks about football’s highest earners being paid “obscene” wages by teams losing touch with economic reality and their working class roots.

He singled out John Terry, the England captain who commands a salary from Chelsea of more than £130,000 a week, making him the Premier League’s highest wage-earner. Speaking at an FT sports industry conference, Mr Sutcliffe said: “It’s obscene. To be paid [about] £150,000 a week, in relation to the ordinary man in the street – people can’t understand that.” While accepting that professional sportsmen had a relatively short career, the minister said it was unsustainable for clubs such as Chelsea to be heavily in the red. “That’s not living in the real world, in my view. Fans move away from that. Fans can’t understand that level of funding.”

Neither, apparently, does Mr Sutcliffe. The article continues: ‘Mr Sutcliffe said there was a balance to be struck in sport between commercialism and governance, “and it’s going too far down the commercial route”.’ Ah yes, a government minister making the case for “more governance.” As I was saying…

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