The way football is played has changed dramatically in the last decade. Scientific approaches to performance analysis prevailed, executives started to become much more professional, and most importantly, football has become a huge business rather than just a sport. What followed immediately after these changes was the paradigm that success can be guaranteed by the right administrative and financial policies; that is why huge multinational companies and billionaires started to invest in football. Nevertheless, as we say in Turkish, they all forgot that the ball is round, and football is ultimately unpredictable as Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) showed this week.
The problem with the people who see football as a predictable business is that they neglect the little details that make football to a large extent unpredictable. This is the argument that the betting business is based upon, and their acknowledgment of the unpredictability of football has brought them a profitable and predictable business. Thus, when a club like PSG invests gazillions in football but still can't get results, this professional side of football has no explanation for it.
However, the problem that concerns the whole football community in the world is that this professional side of football is rising rapidly everywhere. Most clubs in Turkey and the world have already lost their connection with the very reason that they exist, playing football. Nowadays, almost no football club spends time and effort to alter this professional approach; it is accepted as if it is a revelation. It goes like this: If you have lots of money, you can buy high quality players. High quality players win games. Winning games bring success. Therefore, having lots of money brings success.
Well, it is a valid argument, but clearly not a true one. As Ajax and many other examples showed, there is no direct causation between having lots of money and achieving success. There is a correlation for sure, but that correlation does not stem from an inherent fact of football; rather, it stems from our contingent empirical experiences. We have witnessed rich clubs beating poor clubs over and over again so often that we started to think that their dominance is a norm of football. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. What makes a team good is not the amount of money they have, but the quality and efficiency of the strategies and tactics they employ on the pitch.
Of course, money can contribute hugely to the making of these strategies and tactics; unfortunately, no one is willing to play football for free anymore. Nonetheless, money still cannot make sure that you will play with the strategies and tactics that have high quality and efficiency. The physical realities of football prevent you from doing that: The ball is round, it is faster than anyone else, and it only needs to be kicked into the net. All other aspects of football are also relevant, but not as fundamental as the physical realities that the ball dictates to this game.
Therefore, it is always possible to win games and championships by simple acts like controlling, passing and shooting the ball. This fact, I argue, makes all other purportedly professional arguments on the football business only of secondary importance. What is most valuable in football is still playing football, and not business, and it will be so as long as the rules of the game do not change.