HOW IS PAYMENT MADE?
"What is the remedy for the present
state of affairs m football* '
Everyone connected with the game, ex- cept those who point to the large crowds and say "There can bo nothing wrong when the publie patronise the sport," admits that reiorm is necessary. One finds re fuge in "district football," another sug- gests the pooling of receipts and distribu- tion of expenses by league or association authorities ; a third advocates acknow- ledged professionalism instead of the thinly- veiled payments which now prevail. In which does the solution lie ?
Before going into details, let us quote from recent statements of league authori- ties. One life member, speaking of the recent troubles, said :-
"The trouble comes through the payments to players. The league should pool all the money .
and give each club a fixed amount each week for expenses. The fact is that we have not given each other our confidence, and so the players have
been able to dictate terms."
Another speaking of the action of the Lands department in regard to the Fitzroy ground, said: -
"If the Minister would see the necessity for notifying all football clubs- league associa- tion-that no charges would be permitted for foot-
ball after October 1, 1910 the solution of our troubles would, in my opinion be reached. It would break up controlling bodies as at present constituted, but that would be a benefit to clean sport, for they would then be forced to adopt needed reforms, and the Minister would be in a position to authorise the various bodies of trustees to treat with the clubs on a better footing, it they
approached him with clean hands and clean pro- posals.
"The present system, which allows of certain clubs retaining disproportionately large suton year after year leads to delegates of such wealthy clubs carrying more than their fair share of weight and influence at the council table as is shown by the arrogance displayed on occasions."
these statements show the trend of league opinion, but it is doubtful whether there is a man on the league capable of tackling the prin- cipal question. "What do clubs do with their money ?" The delegates-who are in the main closely associated with the man- agement of clubs-sit in council at the league or association table in profound ig- norance of what goes on but in the club committee room-where, of course, the in- formation is confidential-these same dele- gates join in the discussion of ways and
The balance sheets of the clubs published yer by year show large sums of money disbursed under various heading, but never a mention of any payment to players. Are we to believe that players are not paid?
Only as recently as last week a president of one senior club said. "Every footballer
is paid except in the University team, " and one is not able to reconcile his statement with the league or association rules. How can the balance-sheets of clubs be viewed in the light of such a statement? Of all the mysteries to be elucidated this is the most battling. How is it that balance-
sheets show no payments to player, and yet it is known that the men are paid? Early this year a prominent goal-kicker was approached, and asked to play with - His answer was to the point, "Un- less you can pay me C4/10/ a week or more it is no use. I am getting that where I am going." This is not an iso- lated case. Every junior invited to play with a senior team asks at once. "What is it worth? and on the answer depends his reply to the invitation.
"Unless you offer them some induce- ment." said the president referred to above, "you cannot get them. You must do it, or lose your chance." And this is the attitude all round. On all sides one finds the same thing. Players are sub- sidised, and payment-if not open, at any rate, illicit-is made, and it is beyond ques- tion that delegates know it. Club score- taries will show you their books in which expense accounts are charged, but there is no means of cheeking them, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the audi-
tor is a club member chosen because he is a good fellow, and an enthusiast for the
In conversation with the secretary of a club a few evenings ago he described the members of his team as "human vultures.
and he went on to explain, thus: - "We have our fellows graded into classes, and our trouble is that those who received less than then fellows at the beginning of the season have trained hard, and made them- selves valuable to the side. As soon us they had realised their value they have asked to be put up into the class above,
and so claimed more money. We make no bones about it, and regard the payments as wages. The more a player gets the more he thinks he is entitled to. The payments are made after each match, and every Saturday the money is made up in little parcels, and handed out. If you want a good junior you have to offer good expenses. The new arrangement, whereby players will not be able to play off league and association against One another may case the position but it will take it lot to cure the greedy men. "
These are the feelings of n leading secra tary, who knows what he is talking about. He tells the following story: - "One day
after a match-asked for the loan of half a sovereign. I lent it, and later on he told me he could not repay the loan and I had better credit it to profit and loss. Will I get the half- sovereign lack? No! Will I lose it? No. Will it be charged to ex-
penses? Yes! You 'll probably find it in an item called secretary's petty cash' -a most valuable item. I can assure you.
It is not always club money that pro- vides payments for player, but the lund is supplied by special subscriptions, raised by supporters. "It has cost me a few pounds this year," said an executive officer of one of the clubs last weeks: but no more for me. I don t mind mind, when it is all square,
but when you find the men you are paying
being suspected of playing stiff. well it time to get out.' When told that any pay-
ment to player was illegal, the executive officer smiled, and said. "May be: but we have to do it, or we would not get the men."
What is the remedy? District football and a pooling of the gate money, with a fixed allowance for expense and, further, and most important of all. a general under-
standing amongst in delegates that there will be no trafficking in players, and that all accounts shall be audited by a league auditor. Until some radical change is made, there will be no improvement, no hope of pure amateur port. If this cannot be done, then let the game become entire's professional, with definite payment for ser- vice rendered. Contracts would be made,
and instead of more disqualification, action for fraud would follow such occurrences as have recently degraded the game.