Zidane not allowed to coach

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Bad policies also affect football (soccer). Zinedine Zidane, one of the best footballers in the history of the game and former captain of the French national team, has been suspended by the Spanish Football Federation from coaching Castilla, a team currently playing in the second division of the Spanish football league. The reason? Zidane does not have the appropriate coaching degree and, therefore, according to Spanish rules, he cannot coach in this country. Unbelievable.

I could start by making the argument that Zidane’s experience and knowledge of the game are so profound that a formal coaching degree is evidently not necessary in his case. But that argument is secondary. What is really wrong here is the policy itself. Why do teams need a government agency (the Spanish Football Federation in this case) telling them what coaches they can hire and what coaches they can not? Why does this government agency restrict the freedom of teams (and coaches) to reach a mutually profitable outcome? If a team wants to hire somebody without a degree because it thinks that person is the best choice for them, why should the governing agency have anything to say on that decision?

Unfortunately, football and Spain are not the only industry and country in which government agencies restrict participants in the labor market from making the decisions that they consider appropriate. In the US, for example, physicians, lawyers, teachers and even plumbers cannot practice if they don’t have the required certification. These certifications act as a powerful barrier to entry and the result is that medical, legal, educational and plumbing services in the US are outrageously expensive. All of these agencies claim that they impose the certification restrictions to protect consumers from malpractice and abuse. Right…. think about how protected you are next time you pay $70 for a plumber to fix your faucet.

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