Slave Labour in Football

15th April 2013

Ronnie Job

Since nearly going bust twice in recent history, there has been much to admire about the team I support, Swansea City. They are flying high in the Premier league, just won their first major trophy, the League Cup, they are in a new stadium, built in partnership with the Council, they have been put on a sound financial basis and they are 20% fan-owned, through the supporters’ trust.

It was disappointing therefore to read in the Guardian that the club had “..recently advertised for a highly qualified, unpaid performance analyst to work for 11 months, shortly before announcing a £2m dividend to its owners.”

The Guardian report concentrates on 3 clubs; Reading and Wigan are the other 2 but suggests that the practice may be widespread in football. The internships are advertised on the website of a quango, UK Sport, that receives large amount of money from the government.

I can think of jobs a lot worse than watching and analysing Swansea City (watching Reading for one) but that’s the point – this is a job, one with hours of work, probably a large amount of unsocial time and it requires skills in data analysis, IT and knowledge of football.

Football clubs are exploiting the love of the game and the hint of paid employment in the future to get a high level of expertise for nothing. Working unpaid is slave labour whether it’s for a supermarket or your favourite football club.

Internationally as well, sports companies like Nike and Addidas have been plagued by allegations of sweatshops and child labour.

You might also like: Reclaim the Game! from Socialist Books
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