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Salary Cap More in Doubt
Thursday, 30th Jul 2020 21:12

Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin believes the League One salary cap is now more in question with relegated Championship sides Charlton, Wigan and Hull set to participate in next week’s vote.

Previously, promoted Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe were due to take part in the vote, which last week moved to August 6th rather than yesterday, however, it was felt this was unfair.

“There has been a change,” Catlin told the Portsmouth News. “The three relegated Championship clubs are going to be allowed to vote - and the promoted ones aren’t going to be allowed. I cannot see how anyone can morally argue against that decision.

“Even the clubs I know of who will be supporting the salary cap proposals absolutely agreed that morally it was wrong not to allow the clubs coming into this league a vote on it.

“I have been speaking to quite a few of the Championship clubs ahead knowing the relegation spaces, so they are up to speed with the situation and must now come to their own decisions.

“Obviously the three relegated Championship clubs all have their own internal issues at the moment financially, so we’ll have to see how they do this. I am pretty certain the vote will take place on August 6th, so we will find out soon.”

Like Town, Portsmouth are among the clubs who would be most hit by the salary cap, which the EFL proposes being set at £2.5 million for League One.

It’s understood the wages of players aged under 21 wouldn’t count towards this figure, while it's believed there will be a transition period with the likes of the Blues having wage bills two or three times above the limit.

Players’ basic wage, bonuses, image rights and other elements of their contracts are believed to be covered by the cap.

Squad sizes would ultimately be limited to 20 senior players aged over 21 after a period of transition with eight of those homegrown.

Fines or points deductions would be issued for clubs breaking the limits. It’s proposed that for every £1 a club strays over the cap they would be fined £3 with potential transgressions judged by an independent disciplinary commission.

The salary cap proposal needs two-thirds of the clubs in the division, 16, to vote in favour for it to be instigated.

Earlier this month, TWTD reported that a number of clubs spoke out against the initiative at an EFL meeting and Catlin believes that the required 16-club mark may not be reached: “I don’t think there is a certainty that the salary cap will go through.

“There seems to be an ever-growing number of clubs which may vote against it, but I think a lot of those may look at it and, given the financial situation, see it as the best of a bad job.

“It doesn’t tick everyone's boxes, but, on the whole, it means clubs’ costs are going to be brought down.

“Unfortunately for us, they are going to be brought down to a level which is far too low for Pompey and too high for other clubs.

“This was supposed to be about sustainability, but, having spoken to a number of chief executives and owners, it is setting out what they wanted – which is the levelling out of the playing field.

“If that means clubs can fall behind a regulation which ensures they don’t have to spend money, it will gain quite a substantial amount of support in League One.”

Speaking to TWTD three weeks ago, general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill said he could see why the proposals had been put in place but is against them.

“I understand why it’s on the table and why clubs are looking at it and it brings to light the financial implications around football at the moment and trying to level the playing field from a financial aspect,” he said.

“From an ownership point of view, if you have that luxury of having an owner that is willing to or able to invest more money into the club because he wants to, this obviously reduces the ability to be able to do that and that I don’t think is fair.

“I think Financial Fair Play was put in place to look at those elements, to help the clubs who are big clubs with big fanbases, and that can economically work for most clubs if it’s adhered to. We’ve stuck to that, we’ve definitely adhered to the Financial Fair Play stuff.

“The salary cap has got to be voted through and it’s something that is being talked about. I’m not necessarily a big fan of it for obvious reasons.”

Caps are also proposed at League Two level, at £1.25 million, and the Championship, £18 million.

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KiwiBlue2 added 00:43 - Jul 31
The cap proposed for League One is way too low at 2.5m leaving a massive gap to the Championship one.

peaky69 added 06:47 - Jul 31
I am sure KiwiBlue, as I am, is aware of the salary caps in place in Australia and NZ for example. They genuinely work for in providing a stable and even competition but for sport that has thrived on relegation and promotion these numbers are utterly ridiculous.
The disparity in amounts between L1 and the Championship would make it next to impossible for promoted teams to compete. They are the ones that will have the majority of relegation clauses for players. No decent player is going to accept dropping their wage more than 85%.

vanmunt added 09:27 - Jul 31
Surely the amount you are capped at should be set by your income and gate receipts. How can you cap a club with 15,000+ average attendance the same as a club below 1,500, It is just bonkers. Though, the squad size cap of over 21's and 8 homegrown players should be implemented straight away.

Roberds added 10:47 - Jul 31
As others have said, it makes no sense to cap salaries at an arbitrary amount, it must be linked to turnover.

Football clubs have already shown they can get very creative when it comes to accounting (Pride Park for £80M anyone?) and clubs will find ways to pay players without it counting towards the salary cap.

In rugby union Saracens were doing this for years until they got caught, but not before they had won nearly everything there was to win, denying other clubs the chance for success.

TJS added 13:20 - Jul 31
Alternatively clubs who get average gates of 3000 could stop paying wages they can't afford instead of expecting clubs who get 5-6 times that to have to pay the same.
The lower leagues cannot always be run for the benefit of the endless number of tiny clubs in the North of England.

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