Is the Belgian Golden Shoe still important?

De Morgen
Erasmus School of Economics

The Golden Shoe is a trophy that has been awarded annually since 1954 to the best male player in the Belgian football league. According to some, this trophy can lead to an improved contract, or even mean the final step for a transfer abroad. In an article by De Morgen, Thomas Peeters, sports economist at Erasmus School of Economics, nuances this view somewhat.

The winner of the Golden Shoe is the player who gets the most votes, awarded by sports journalists, officials of the Belgian Football Federation, some referees and former winners of the Golden Shoe. ‘The Golden Shoe used to have an important signalling function,' says Peeters. ‘It attracted the attention of foreign clubs. But nowadays there is a much more systematic scouting in football. In no time you can get a full report with analytical figures on your desk. And so foreign clubs will already know these players in advance.'

Such a trophy, however, does not mean that a player will automatically get a salary increase. That depends from player to player. ‘An Italian colleague, Francesco Principe, has shown that players in the Italian league will be paid more if their star status rises,' says Peeters. ‘Such an individual trophy can contribute to that. In the Serie A it was possible to research this because the sports newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport publishes all players' salaries annually. That is not the case in Belgium, so we cannot say to what extent this can be extended to our country.’

Professor

Thomas Peeters, Sports Economist

More information

The full article from De Morgen, 12 January 2021, can be found here (in Dutch). 

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