Players union opposes rushed EFL move to bring in salary cap

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The English Football League’s plans to introduce an American style salary cap for clubs, to help deal with the cash crisis prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, face opposition from the country’s players’ union who say they risk being unlawful.

The EFL clubs are expected to vote on Friday on proposals to set a limit on clubs’ wage bills, in the third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two for next season.

The EFL proposes the cap be set at 2.5 million pounds for League One and 1.5 million pounds for League Two. No vote will be taken for a cap on the second-tier Championship on Friday.

But the PFA says that the move is being rushed into without enough consultation with the players.

“The introduction of a salary cap in English football represents a seismic change. It is a change that will have far-reaching and significant impacts right across the professional game. We must take the time to ensure that these are properly considered and understood,” the PFA said in a statement on Thursday.

The EFL said that they plan to go ahead with the vote on Friday.

Currently the only limits on the money clubs can spend are the financial fair play (FFP) rules which restricts the amount of losses a club may post over a three-year period.

A number of EFL clubs faced financial difficulties even before the stoppage due to the pandemic and EFL chairman Rick Parry has called for a “complete rethink” of the financial model for clubs below the Premier League.

Andy Holt, chairman of League One club Accrington Stanley, has been a vocal critic of the finances of the game and said a cap was vital.

“We need a salary cap. Not a sane person on earth can say the free-for-all that has gone on in the EFL is wise. It’s evidenced by failing clubs,” he told Reuters.

“Plus clubs must be made to abide by the rules for once. Some club owners cannot be trusted to run sensible business models, there has to be regulation to manage this.”

The PFA say they want to sit down this month and work out an agreement on any changes.

“We have invited the EFL to a period of expedited arbitration in August, before the next season starts and the transfer window closes, in order to reach a shared agreement on the way forward.

“The EFL has a legal obligation to consult with the PFA and the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC), over any potential changes to a player’s conditions.

“This consultation has not happened, and as such, we are gravely concerned that any cap brought in will be unlawful and unenforceable, which will ultimately be detrimental to everyone involved.”

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar