Let small football clubs score with foreign talent

De Standaard
Erasmus School of Economics

Thomas Peeters, sports economist at Erasmus School of Economics, doesn't consider it a good idea to increase the minimum wage fivefold for professional footballers from outside the European Union. It would be harder for smaller teams to compete with top clubs.

If it was up to the party CD&V, the minimum wage for non-EU players will be raised from 81.000 euros to around 400.000 euros, or 120 percent of the average wage. According to Peeters, that seems to be a logical measure. In this way the young Belgian footballer gets playing opportunities and local talent is helped to develop.

On the other hand, it limits the possibilities of smaller teams to compete with the traditional top clubs. The excitement in the Jupiler Pro League is due to the fact that several clubs have a competitive team. Some clubs support their youth players, others add foreign talents to complete their teams. Without the opportunities that our clubs offer those players, football might have been a lot less attractive, says Peeters.

There is not much proof that the national teams benefit from the fact that the domestic market is protected from foreign talent. If the higher minimum wage is introduced, smaller clubs are deprived of an important weapon that can help them to make the competition exciting. According to Peeters, the Belgians succeed well in attracting young talent, and getting them ready for the top, without running into any serious problems.

More information

The entire article can be downloaded above, 3 December 2019 (in Dutch).