DAILY CATHOLIC FRI-SAT-SUN June 11-13, 1999 vol. 10, no. 113
NEWS & VIEWS
ATHLETES' SALARIES ARE "AN OFFENSE TO THE POOR"
Vatican Newspaper Comments Sale of Soccer Player Christian Vieri
VATICAN CITY, JUN 10 (ZENIT).- In a June 11 editorial, L'Osservatore Romano commented on the sale of Italian soccer player Christian Vieri for almost $50 million. The title of the column was, "When the Law of Economics Dominates the Sport."
The editor of the Vatican newspaper finds that figure exaggerated. "In fact, even public opinion has raised its voice in disagreement: it is an offense to the poor; it makes no sense in a country where up until a few months ago the people were being asked to make sacrifices for entry into the European Union. It is unworthy when, not far from Italy, the drama of hundreds of thousands of refugees, forced to live in misery and great uncertainty, unfolds."
In this instance, "the voice of the people expresses very well how this millionaire's soccer game is distancing itself from the people," the article states.
Altered Scale of Values
"Over the last few years, the teams have become real businesses; attention is paid first to business and economic gain," the column continued. "The priority is no longer the sport itself, but the kind of money winner it is. In practice, the scale of values has been altered. Business is business, and the rest does not matter. To buy a player for $50 million is not even a technical decision; it is simply an economic investment."
Sport as Instrument
The Holy See's newspaper explains that "in the context where the ones who dictate the rules are the sponsors, the television channels, advertising and now the market shares, the sports event becomes an instrument -- a 'media event' and, as such, useful."
"But, given this perspective, what remains of football, or rather, of the ideals and values that the sport fomented?" asks the column. "Events of this kind do not educate, ... [They are] an insidious attempt on the sport and the values it represents."
Ethics and Market
The Italian Soccer League has expressed its concern, not for the sum paid, but over the stratospheric salary the player has been offered. It fears that, henceforth, all star players will demand higher compensation. In fact, this institution has already stated its concern that such pay is not "moral."
L'Osservatore Romano concludes by showing how ethics and the market
cannot be separated, since "the market rules by themselves are
insufficient." Moreover, "to make an evaluation from the ethical point
of view does not mean to moralize but simply to ask if it is just and
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NEWS & VIEWS