Whenever the government redistributes (via taxation) wealth created by society in ways that benefit some it can only come at the direct (forced) expense of all those who would have spent their money in a different way had they had the freedom to choose. This is a profound truth that still far too few of us have fully absorbed.
The Olympic Games, one of the most expensive and spectacular boondoggles of our time, is no exception to this rule and the recent sell-off (or rather renting-out) of the Olympic Stadium by the London Legacy Development Corporation to Premier League football club West Ham United is a good example.
West Ham United have recently been granted tenancy of the Olympic Stadium at a fraction of what it would have cost the club to build its own venue using funding acquired peacefully through economic exchange – as opposed to coercively through taxation. The primary benefit to West Ham of this deal will be significantly higher revenues than it otherwise would have had, but making more money is not the ultimate aim of any football club worthy of the name – it’s winning more football matches and winning trophies.
If West Ham successfully translates its unjustly acquired economic advantage into greater success on the football pitch in the coming decades, then Premier League football will be tainted as a product. It’s unfair and unethical to have a team competing in the Premier League whose spending power and potential for success has been greatly enhanced by leveraging the coercive apparatus of the State.
Being able to buy better players and win more football matches as a result of having wealthier owners, a larger fan base or more lucrative sponsorship and TV deals is perfectly sporting. This kind of inequality is the natural result of economic and social factors, and is how the standard of football is raised over time. Being able to buy better players and win more matches as a result of being virtually gifted a bigger and better stadium that the public was forced to pay for by the State, however, is most certainly not sporting. That’s cheating football – and society.
The football community surely wouldn’t hesitate to reject any team that was wholly or partly funded by the Mafia, which is an organisation that acquires its funded using the same means as government – i.e. by coercion. In order for the Premiership to maintain its integrity as a sporting competition it really should refuse West Ham United entry until it builds a stadium with its own money – or stays where it is.
It’s remarkable to consider that many of the individuals who, as tax payers, have been forced to fund first the construction and now the conversion of West Ham United’s new home will be fans of rival Premier League clubs! A truly perverse outcome such as this only possible in a society where one group of people have the power to redistribute vast swaths of society’s wealth in order to benefit those who have won their favour.
It’s quite possible that in the long-run West Ham United football club will regret moving into the Olympic Stadium, even if it does enjoy footballing success. In doing a deal with the devil that is the State, West Ham has sold its sporting soul in return for gaining an unfair advantage over other teams and a greater chance of winning some silverware. But at what cost? The cost could easily be West Ham’s reputation as one of the most widely respected football clubs in England. It could even be the club’s very existence.
A West Ham United enhanced by ill-gotten financial gains might win more matches and perhaps even add some silverware to its trophy cabinet, but it might find it loses the respect of an embittered football community, made up of pissed-off tax payers, and perhaps even some of its own fans who opposed the move to the Olympic Stadium; which will make those victories rather hollow. On the flip side, if West Ham doesn’t win anything in the coming years despite its unfair advantage, then its failure will seem all the greater and be much harder to swallow.
Furthermore, playing in a venue that the club itself owns is far more secure than being the tenant of a government corporation which, as an extension of the only agency in society that is above the law, is likely to evict West Ham United the moment its power-driven incumbents change their grand plans – or when a new government takes office. Politicians are only ever trying to solve their own problems, which is why West Ham should expect to one day find itself abruptly homeless.
Becoming a political pawn could prove in the long-run to be a big mistake for West Ham United football club. Having a club in the Premier League that will have its performance enhanced by the drug of government-granted economic privilege will certainly taint top flight football in England.
Politics and sport shouldn’t mix because politicized sport isn’t sporting at all.