OPINION

State scores own goal

It has been amply demonstrated that repeated debt settlements arranged by the state to help out Greece’s cash-strapped soccer clubs not only fail to solve the problems dogging the country’s professional league, but have instead acted as an incentive to businessmen to shirk their obligations, as they continue to use fans as pawns in a political power game. Moreover, debt settlements hit taxpayers and harm the healthy competitors of the beneficiaries of such deals. For in effect the latter are deprived of money that the lawbreakers receive from the state. The state, in other words, is punishing healthy entrepreneurs while at the same time rewarding those who fail to pay taxes and break the law. After the latest government bill, some businessmen will be even more tempted to amass debts, knowing that they can escape punishment simply by exerting pressure on the party in power. Ultimately, soccer clubs are enterprises. Taxpayers have no share in the profits of club owners. Why should they be burdened with part of their losses?