Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rise of BRICs in Sports

The tides are shifting! Both in global economy and in the sporting world. With most of the developed world still entrenched into stagnation, developing countries led by BRIC countries are leading the global growth parameters. And these very nations are set to break monopoly of the Western world in the sporting arena, at least in terms of their financial muscle.

Brazil has always been bottomless trove of footballing talent. Right from Pele to future star Neymar, Brazil has provided the world football with footballing stars. Not just European football, but even Indian league is littered with Brazilians. The flow of talent has always been from South America to Europe. Young talent in his teens would be spotted by European club scouts and he would be heading across Atlantic for greener pastures. Then at the dusk of his career, he would come back to his native land, showcasing his waning talent to his countrymen. But times are changing!

Corinthians have offered 40 million for Carlos Tevez. Brazilians are competing with top European clubs for Argentinian in his prime form, with a bid amount previously unheard of outside Europe. Many of the Brazilians are staying in Brazil longer (before they are poached by European clubs, of course) and return to Latin America in early 30s, when some of their talent is still intact. Ronaldinho recently returned to Brazil, whereas in earlier days he could have preferred to stay at 2nd rung European club. Brazilian clubs can match salaries offered by European clubs, because of booming economy.

And it's not just Brazil, Russians are also pouring money in football. Some unheard Russian club matched Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea in bid for Neymar. Salaries at Russian clubs are at par with top European clubs (Arshevin's salary at St. Petersberg was matched by Arsenal IIRC). Fittingly Brazil and Russia are going to host next 2 football World Cups.

So would these growing economies eclipse European football, like Indian cricket did to England county cricket? IPL is drawing players from cricket's erstwhile leaders, England and Australia. English players are skipping county cricket to play in IPL, which would have been considered blasphemy a generation back. So would parochial English or Spanish players, who currently prefer not to go even outside their own country one day be playing in say Brazil? Would we see Santos or Sao Paolo poaching talent from Barcelona and Manchester United? Only time will tell. After all it's all about money, honey!

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