If you’re a fan of, say, Port Vale, the team that finds itself in the fourth tier of the English soccer pyramid system, well, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that you’re never going to see your beloved Valiants win the Premier League. Whilst those fans may never say that out loud and even if hope does spring eternal, there will be an unspoken agreement that this is the case.
FT | @westernbulldogs 21.18 (144) def @stkilda 5.3 (33).— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) May 22, 2021
BACK ON TOP OF THE LADDER IN A BIG, BIG WAY.
The Dogs were amazing. The Saints were awful. What a turnaround from last year's final...
STATS: https://t.co/lElPxJQDIP#AFLDogsSaints pic.twitter.com/Ow1PdXe82B
Of course, that won’t stop them from showing up in their droves and cheering their team on every week, and in reality, not fighting for the Premier League title is not a deal-breaker for these fans, or in fact, any other supporters scattered throughout the length and breadth of the land who find themselves in a similar predicament. But should they have to live their lives accepting that they will never climb to the top of the summit of English soccer? Could something be done to even the playing fields?
If you’re reading this and currently shaking your head as you dismiss the idea of professional sport ever being a level playing field then consider for a second how competitive the AFL in Australia is. Indeed, some 9442 miles away from Stoke-on-Trent where Port Vale play their soccer, lies Australia and the famous Aussie Rules.
The best way of describing the AFL is a throwback to a time when sport was played for the love of it. That’s not to say that the players don’t get remunerated exceptionally well, but because of the AFL’s salary cap, the wages on offer keep the players honest.
In fact, in 2020, the average annual salary for a listed player was $259,651. Sure, it’s a handsome wage and it’s worth noting that the AFL’s rich list will show some of the biggest earners receiving closer to a million dollars a season, but crucially, it’s not enough to disrupt the competition in the league.
In stark contrast to that, since signing for Manchester United in August, Cristiano Ronaldo will be earning $532,000 a week during his Old Trafford stay whilst just down the road at Port Vale, the highest-paid players will take a home salary of $157,766 a year.
You can all of a sudden see why since 1999, only six teams have won the Premier League title. Then consider for a moment that since the same time, only one team in the AFL hasn’t made it to a Grand Final, that team was the Gold Coast Suns but there is a reason for that given that they only entered the competition in 2011. Furthermore, with less than three weeks to go before another AFL Grand Final, you’ll notice how competitive the latest Aussie Rules Betting odds are still with only the Western Bulldogs cut loose at a price of 6.00.
In essence, the AFL has managed to stay competitive thanks to the introduction of a salary cap and draft system. It is without a doubt the most competitive league in the world given that every team has a realistic chance of winning the Grand Final every season, it goes without saying but that certainly isn't the case everywhere around the world.