Third and fourth-tier clubs have voted in favour of squad salary caps in a bid to tackle the “profound” financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
League One clubs have agreed a £2.5m squad cap, with League Two sides opting for a £1.5m limit. Both caps will be introduced with immediate effect, the EFL said.
It is understood Championship clubs have no plans at this stage to hold a formal vote on a cap, but Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee says they have to act.
He said: “It seems there is a breaking out of common sense amongst league clubs. For a long time the flawed business model of much of football has been as clear as day but it’s taken the biggest financial crisis in English football since the war for some action.
“Let’s see if more realism now permeates the Championship, where player wages incredibly outstrip club turnover.”
Deloitte reported earlier this year that second-tier clubs had a combined wages-to-turnover ratio of 107 per cent in their 2018-19 accounts, and lost a combined £300m.
In announcing the League One and Two cap, EFL chief executive David Baldwin said: “The term ‘salary cap’ is an emotive one, creating the impression of a restrictive measure but we are clear in our view that this is neither the objective nor the likely effect of these changes to EFL regulations.
“The financial impact of Covid-19 will be profound for EFL clubs and today’s vote will help ensure clubs cannot extend themselves to the point that could cause financial instability.”
Players’ union the Professional Footballers’ Association has expressed concerns about the new regulations, and called on Thursday for further consultation and clarity around the objectives for introducing a cap. It has been approached for comment.
At League Two level 22 clubs were in favour of the cap, with just two opposed.
It is understood the caps will be index-linked to the level of domestic broadcast revenue clubs receive, so would be reviewed in the event of a new deal being agreed or in the event of any change to how funds are allocated.
The EFL said the cap did include basic wages, taxes, bonuses, image rights, agents’ fees and other fees and expenses paid directly or indirectly to all registered players.
There are a number of exemptions. Players under 21 are understood to be exempt from the cap, as are players whose deals were agreed before the introduction of the cap.
Those players will also be able to extend on the same terms if aged under 24 at the time of renewal.
There would also be a relegated player exemption, if the player’s terms were agreed no later than the end of the January transfer window in the season the team were relegated.
There will be a five per cent ‘overrun’ permitted, with financial penalties imposed on a sliding scale. Beyond five per cent, clubs will be referred to an independent disciplinary commission where sanctions would be imposed if found guilty of a breach.
Forest Green chairman Dale Vince, a long-time advocate of a cap, said: “I’m pleased it’s happened because it will bring more sustainability to the league.
“It starts today, which I think is a bit unfortunate because when it was first mooted it was going to start at the end of June.
“We’ve done all our recruitment expecting it would come and then the EFL said it would start at the end of July, and now it starts from today.”
Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.