Though it contains little in the way of breaking news, Frank Dell’Apa’s Boston Globe article about Boston owner John Henry’s (pictured right) recent purchase of Liverpool FC does contain some comments from Jeff L’Hote of LFC International, a New York-based soccer consultancy firm.
For anyone who’s familiar with world football, none of L’Hote’s comments will shock — ta-da! soccer presents different economic challenges than baseball! — but it is interesting to think (if only for like 30 seconds) about what happens when a preternaturally talented sporting owner takes over a British football club.
From Dell’Apa’s article:
“I think one of the key learning curves is the difference between the European soccer model and US professional sport,” L’Hote said. “Henry said he can’t believe players have so much control here — a contract doesn’t mean as much in the Premier as Major League Baseball, for example.”
— snip —
[Spanish Striker Fernando] Torres could have plenty of temptations, bids from several countries, should Liverpool continue to struggle. Unlike baseball, there are competing European leagues that can offer options to dissatisfied stars. Contractual obligations only go so far. And few elite clubs are willing to impose salary caps.
For those of us who work on the side of labor, the notion that players have control — well, that’s hard to dislike. But for those in baseball’s nerderati, at least, there’d also be no little pleasure in seeing Henry exploit the frig out of whatever market inefficiencies exist in the Premiership.