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Date: Jun 1, 2007
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 2:11 - 257.5 KB - 16kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text in this online test.

1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

English soccer salaries set to break $2 billion barrier

The salaries of soccer players in England’s top level Premiership are set to break the $2bn barrier for the first time in the competition's history. This is according to the 16th edition of the “Annual Review of Football Finance”, carried out by accounting firm Deloitte. The report was launched on May 31st and is available online at just under $1,000. This in-depth guide to European soccer finances is packed with facts and figures and trends from all of Europe’s top-flight leagues. The section on salaries paid by English clubs shows a spiraling of wage demands by players and their agents. The London club Chelsea topped the payroll list, forking out a whopping $225m in salaries for its stars. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were next. Perhaps not coincidentally, all four teams regularly finish in the top four positions at the end of each season.

The Premiership is currently the top-earning league in the world. However, Deloitte’s said that although salaries have been increasing at a rate of nine percent a year, the trend is unlikely to continue. It forecast that the wave of new, foreign ownership of clubs was likely to result in more restraint in spending. As is with the case of Manchester, its new American owners are saddled with huge debt repayments and costly stadium improvements. Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley suggested this would stop clubs from simply throwing money at players. He added: "Whilst wages will rise, clubs do have the opportunity to increase the importance of performance related pay structures.” He predicted this would have a positive knock-on effect, saying: "This will both insulate the business in future when on-pitch results are not so good, and also help motivate and reward players and management for winning."

WARM-UPS

1. FOOTBALL (SOCCER): Walk around the class and talk to other students about football (soccer) and money. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your original partner(s) and share what you found out.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

salaries / barriers / competitions / finances / facts and figures / payrolls / teams / leagues / trends / foreign ownership / stadia / debts / opportunities / rewards

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. SALARIES: With your partner(s), decide how much people in these professions should earn. Change partners and tell each other your earnings. After you have finished, discuss which professions are most important. Are these the highest paid ones?

  • soccer player
  • F1 driver
  • accountant
  • English teacher
  • president / prime minister
  • Hollywood movie actor
  • firefighter
  • nurse

4. BIG MONEY: What would you like to earn big money for? Choose your top and bottom three from the table. Talk about these with your partner(s).

  • playing sport
  • dancing
  • computer gaming
  • computer programming
  • studying English
  • being CEO of a big corporation
  • writing books
  • doing charity work
  • taking photographs
  • being a world-famous doctor

5. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Have these fun, short debates. Change partners and topics often. Students A argue the first part; students B, the second.

  • Top sports players deserve to earn millions. Vs. Sports stars are overpaid.
  • The proper, best word is “football”. Vs. The proper, best word is “soccer”.
  • Sports players shouldn’t earn more than doctors. Vs. This is no problem.
  • Women soccer stars should get as much money as men. Vs. Absolutely not!
  • Soccer is the best sport in the world. Vs. Soccer is boring.
  • Soccer stars should get paid more than actors. Vs. Actors deserve more.

6. SOCCER: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with soccer. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

England’s top soccer star will soon earn $2 billion a year.

T / F

b.

An accounting firm sells a cheap yearly review of soccer finances.

T / F

c.

Salaries are high because players fly first class around Europe.

T / F

d.

The highest-paying clubs usually finish in the top positions.

T / F

e.

England’s Premier League is the world’s biggest revenue earner.

T / F

f.

Accountants predict soccer salaries will continue to spiral upwards.

T / F

g.

An accountant believes salaries will be related to performance.

T / F

h.

The accountant believes this will be bad for football clubs.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

carried out

paying

b.

in-depth

spur on

c.

forking out

by chance

d.

whopping

self-control

e.

coincidentally

huge

f.

trend

conducted

g.

restraint

protect

h.

saddled

movement

i.

insulate

comprehensive

j.

motivate

burdened

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

for the first time in the

money at players

b.

packed with facts

$225m in salaries

c.

a spiraling of wage

earning league in the world

d.

forking out a whopping

competition's history

e.

Perhaps not coincidentally, all four

demands by players

f.

The Premiership is currently the top-

on-pitch results are not so good

g.

more restraint

debt repayments

h.

saddled with huge

teams regularly finish in the top

i.

stop clubs from simply throwing

and figures and trends

j.

insulate the business in future when

in spending

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

English soccer salaries set to break $2 billion barrier
 

The salaries of soccer players in England’s top _______ Premiership are set to break the $2bn barrier for the first ______ in the competition's history. This is according to the 16th ______ of the “Annual Review of Football Finance”, carried out by accounting firm Deloitte. The report was ______ on May 31st and is available online at just under $1,000. This in-depth ______ to European soccer finances is packed with facts and figures and trends from all of Europe’s top-flight leagues. The section on salaries paid by English clubs shows a ______ of wage demands by players and their agents. The London club Chelsea topped the payroll list, forking out a ______ $225m in salaries for its stars. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were next. Perhaps not ______, all four teams regularly finish in the top four positions at the end of each season.

 

 

spiraling
edition
coincidentally
level
guide
whopping
time
launched

The Premiership is ________ the top-earning league in the world. However, Deloitte’s said that although salaries have been increasing at a rate of nine percent a year, the trend is unlikely to continue. It ________ that the wave of new, foreign ________ of clubs was likely to result in more restraint in spending. As is with the case of Manchester, its new American owners are saddled with huge ________ repayments and costly stadium improvements. Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley suggested this would stop clubs from simply ________ money at players. He added: "Whilst wages will rise, clubs do have the opportunity to increase the importance of performance ________ pay structures.” He predicted this would have a ________ knock-on effect, saying: "This will both insulate the business in future when on-pitch results are not so good, and also help motivate and ________ players and management for winning."

 

 

related
throwing
ownership
reward
currently
positive
forecast
debt

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

English soccer salaries set to break $2 billion barrier

__________________ soccer players in England’s top level Premiership are set to break the $2bn barrier for __________________ competition's history. __________________ the 16th edition of the “Annual Review of Football Finance”, carried out by accounting firm Deloitte. The report was launched on May 31st and is available online at just under $1,000. This __________________ European soccer finances is packed with facts and figures and trends from all of Europe’s top-flight leagues. The section on salaries paid by English clubs ______________________ demands by players and their agents. The London club Chelsea topped the payroll list, forking out a whopping $225m in salaries for its stars. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were next. Perhaps not coincidentally, all four teams regularly finish in the top four positions at __________________.

The Premiership is currently the top-earning __________________. However, Deloitte’s said that although salaries have been increasing __________________ percent a year, the trend is unlikely to continue. It forecast that the wave of new, foreign ownership __________________ result in more restraint in spending. As is with the case of Manchester, its new American owners ______________________ repayments and costly stadium improvements. Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley suggested this would stop clubs from _____________________ players. He added: "Whilst wages will rise, clubs do have the opportunity to increase the importance of performance related pay structures.” He predicted __________________ positive knock-on effect, saying: "This will both insulate the business in future when on-pitch _____________________, and also help motivate and reward players and management for winning."


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘break’ and ‘barrier’.

break

barrier

 

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • set
  • edition
  • in-depth
  • spiraling
  • forking
  • coincidentally
  • rate
  • wave
  • restraint
  • debt
  • positive
  • reward

STUDENT SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about SALARIES in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you read the headline?
  2. Do you think soccer stars should be paid big money?
  3. Which sport do you think deserves the highest pay?
  4. Do you think playing soccer for 15 years is a difficult job?
  5. What are the disadvantages of playing soccer for a living?
  6. Would you like to buy the Deloitte “Football Finance Review”?
  7. Do you think its right that only the rich clubs win every time?
  8. Do you think soccer starts are greedy?
  9. Do you think England’s Premiership is the best league in the world?
  10. Do you think the game is “soccer” or “football” (or it doesn’t matter which)?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. Why do you think England’s league is the world’s most lucrative?
  3. Do you think soccer players will ever earn as much as American football and baseball players?
  4. If the English league is so good, why do you think England’s national team is so bad?
  5. Would you invest money in a soccer club?
  6. Would you like to play sport for a living?
  7. Do you think soccer players should be paid according to how they perform in each game?
  8. Do you think soccer players are motivated more by money or winning trophies and medals?
  9. Do you think it’s right that soccer players earn more than prime ministers and presidents?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

ROLE PLAY:

Are soccer players paid too much? Team up with classmates who have the same role as you. Develop your roles and discuss ideas and “strategies”. Discuss whether a limit should be placed on soccer stars’ salaries.

Role A – SOCCER STAR

You think the money you get is about right. You have a special talent no one else wants. People pay to see your talent. You are a top athlete. People have to understand you will have no salary after you are 35.

THINK OF MORE REASONS WHY YOUR SALARY IS OK

Role B – SOCCER FAN

Your salary is low. You pay a lot of money to enter the stadium. You love your soccer team but you think many of the stars do not try hard enough. Your team loses too often. The players play badly or are injured. They should do more for the money they earn.

THINK OF MORE THINGS STARTS CAN DO FOR THEIR MONEY

Role C – PRIME MINISTER

You are the prime minister of your country. You have a PhD. and worked very hard for many years. You have a lot or responsibility. Your salary is less than some 18-year-old soccer stars. This is totally ridiculous.

THINK OF REASONS WHY SOCCER STARS ARE OVERPAID

Role D – CEO OF SOCCER CLUB

Your job is to win trophies, make money and keep your fans happy. You need the best players to do this. The best players are expensive. This is simple economics.

THINK OF REASONS WHY SALARIES CAN NEVER BE TOO HIGH

Change roles and repeat the role play. Comment in groups about the differences between the two role plays.

In pairs / groups, discuss whether you really believe in what you said while you were in your roles.

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

English soccer salaries set to break $2 billion barrier

The salaries of soccer players in England’s top level Premiership are set to break the $2bn barrier for the first time in the competition's history. This is (1) ____ to the 16th edition of the “Annual Review of Football Finance”, carried (2) ____ by accounting firm Deloitte. The report was launched on May 31st and is available online at just under $1,000. This (3) ____ -depth guide to European soccer finances is packed with facts and figures and trends from all of Europe’s top-flight leagues. The section on salaries paid by English clubs shows a (4) ____ of wage demands by players and their agents. The London club Chelsea topped the payroll list, (5) ____ out a whopping $225m in salaries for its stars. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were next. Perhaps (6) ____ coincidentally, all four teams regularly finish in the top four positions at the end of each season.

The Premiership is currently the top-earning league in the world. However, Deloitte’s said that although salaries have been increasing at a rate of nine percent a year, the trend is (7) ____ to continue. It forecast that the wave of new, foreign ownership of clubs was likely to result in more restraint in spending. (8) ____ is with the case of Manchester, its new American owners are saddled (9) ____ huge debt repayments and costly stadium improvements. Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley suggested this would stop clubs from (10) ____ throwing money at players. He added: "Whilst wages will rise, clubs do have the opportunity to increase the importance of performance (11) ____ pay structures.” He predicted this would have a positive knock-on effect, saying: "This will both insulate the business in future when on-pitch results are not so good, and also help motivate and reward players and management (12) ____ winning."

1.

(a)

reckoning

(b)

considering

(c)

according

(d)

research

2.

(a)

out

(b)

in

(c)

under

(d)

over

3.

(a)

deep

(b)

real

(c)

out

(d)

in

4.

(a)

zigzagging

(b)

spiraling

(c)

springing

(d)

bouncing

5.

(a)

forking

(b)

knifing

(c)

bowling

(d)

cupping

6.

(a)

maybe

(b)

in

(c)

by

(d)

not

7.

(a)

likely

(b)

similarly

(c)

unlikely

(d)

similarity

8.

(a)

So

(b)

As

(c)

Because

(d)

This

9.

(a)

wither

(b)

within

(c)

without

(d)

with

10.

(a)

simply

(b)

easily

(c)

hardly

(d)

correctly

11.

(a)

relation

(b)

relative

(c)

related

(d)

relations

12.

(a)

are

(b)

for

(c)

with

(d)

by

WRITING: 

Write about sports salaries for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about England’s Premier League. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. SOCCCER POSTER: Make a poster about the different countries around the world that have top level soccer leagues. Show your poster to your class in the next lesson. Vote on the best one(s).

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about the role soccer plays in your country. Is it a big part of culture?

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Which article was best and why?

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the head of England’s Premier League. Ask him three questions about soccer salaries being so high. Give him three pieces of advice about how to keep good players. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. F

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

carried out

conducted

b.

in-depth

comprehensive

c.

forking out

paying

d.

whopping

huge

e.

coincidentally

by chance

f.

trend

movement

g.

restraint

self-control

h.

saddled

burdened

i.

insulate

protect

j.

motivate

spur on

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

for the first time in the

competition's history

b.

packed with facts

and figures and trends

c.

a spiraling of wage

demands by players

d.

forking out a whopping

$225m in salaries

e.

Perhaps not coincidentally, all four

teams regularly finish in the top

f.

The Premiership is currently the top-

earning league in the world

g.

more restraint

in spending

h.

saddled with huge

debt repayments

i.

stop clubs from simply throwing

money at players

j.

insulate the business in future when

on-pitch results are not so good

GAP FILL:

English soccer salaries set to break $2 billion barrier

The salaries of soccer players in England’s top level Premiership are set to break the $2bn barrier for the first time in the competition's history. This is according to the 16th edition of the “Annual Review of Football Finance”, carried out by accounting firm Deloitte. The report was launched on May 31st and is available online at just under $1,000. This in-depth guide to European soccer finances is packed with facts and figures and trends from all of Europe’s top-flight leagues. The section on salaries paid by English clubs shows a spiraling of wage demands by players and their agents. The London club Chelsea topped the payroll list, forking out a whopping $225m in salaries for its stars. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool were next. Perhaps not coincidentally, all four teams regularly finish in the top four positions at the end of each season.

The Premiership is currently the top-earning league in the world. However, Deloitte’s said that although salaries have been increasing at a rate of nine percent a year, the trend is unlikely to continue. It forecast that the wave of new, foreign ownership of clubs was likely to result in more restraint in spending. As is with the case of Manchester, its new American owners are saddled with huge debt repayments and costly stadium improvements. Deloitte's Paul Rawnsley suggested this would stop clubs from simply throwing money at players. He added: "Whilst wages will rise, clubs do have the opportunity to increase the importance of performance related pay structures.” He predicted this would have a positive knock-on effect, saying: "This will both insulate the business in future when on-pitch results are not so good, and also help motivate and reward players and management for winning."

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - c

2 - a

3 - d

4 -b

5 - a

6 -d

7 - c

8 -b

9 -d

10 - a

11 -c

12 - b

 

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