Barnsley FC players are lowest paid in division but facing deferrals

Deferrals and salary cuts are not simple issues when you have the lowest wage structure in your division. Leon Wobschall reports.

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CAPTAIN, midfield talisman, dressing-room voice and now mediator.

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Alex Mowatt may be away from his Barnsley team-mates as footballers continue social distancing while the game is on hold, but he has been fulfilling an important brief this week.

In talks: Barnsley players are being kept up to speed on pay issues.

Mowatt has confirmed that the club’s players are speaking with the Reds hierarchy about taking either a wage deferral or pay cut as the club look at reducing costs to cope with the financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

The midfielder – alongside fellow senior players Kenny Dougall and Cauley Woodrow – has been in discussions with chief executive officer Dane Murphy this week on behalf of the squad.

Mowatt has confirmed that Murphy has presented two different options to the players, who will provide feedback before the end of the week.

The Professional Football Association’s refusal to support a centrally agreed approach to mitigate the huge financial losses resulting from the suspension of 2019-20 has seen Championship outfits negotiate with players on a club-by-club basis.

With one of the lowest wage budgets in the second tier, talks are unlikely to be straightforward at Barnsley, with the weekly pay packets of players being nothing like those of most of their rival clubs in the division.

Mowatt said: “Me, Kenny and Cauley are the representatives for the lads and we have been on the phone with Dane and he has sent an offer out of two different options that he wants the boys to take.

“We are just starting to negotiate that now and we will have to see what happens and what the outcome is from the options.

“He said for us to come back with something that we’d like and we will have to see what happens after that really.

“A lot of teams are taking deferrals and things like that. But then again, we will probably be the lowest paid players in the Championship and a lot of teams that are doing it are on a lot bigger wages than all of us.

“So we have will to see what we all end up agreeing on, really.

“We have said that we are not one of the biggest payers in the Championship and are probably the lowest.

“I think the owners are in a really good situation as well and they are not in debt, like some other clubs. With selling players in the summer (2019), we got a lot of money, so I don’t think it is as bad as at all the other clubs.”

Majority Barnsley shareholders Pacific Media Group (PMG) are also set to add to their sporting portfolio after reportedly agreeing a deal to take over debt-ridden Belgian outfit KV Oostende.

Reds co-chairman Paul Conway has reached a deal to acquire a majority shareholding in the struggling Belgian First Division A club – paying part of the debts immediately, with another part to be paid in the longer term.

Alongside Barnsley, PMG also owns Swiss club FC Thun and failed in a bid to buy Scottish Championship outfit Partick Thistle last year.

The group’s bid to buy Thistle was thwarted due to guidelines put in place by the Scottish Football Association preventing the ownership of multiple clubs.

According to reports, Conway has since made tentative approaches to clubs in the top-flight of the Scottish Premier League – with the SFA set to compromise over dual ownership to attract investment to stricken clubs hit by the coronavirus shutdown.

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