In its latest attempt try and get their members to at least attempt some kind of financial providence, the EFL plan to introduce ‘one size fits all’ salary caps for next season.
This will impose a set limit on what clubs can spend on their squad salaries, including potential bonus incentives.
For League Two, the suggested £1.5million budget limit seems draconian. For example, based on Bolton’s assumed embargo limit of 23 professionally contracted players, this works out at just under £1,300 per week (or £65,000 per year) per player, all being equal.
So, with the league average being currently around £2-£2,500, that will be a serious challenge for most clubs.
EFL chairman Rick Parry considers this plan as “absolutely essential” but in my opinion it is just the latest in a line of half-cooked, ill-thought-out ideas coming from our footballing overlords.
Following on from FFP, this latest ruling will be another lawyer’s dream of loopholes and get-outs. What about dispensations being given for clubs who have contracted squads that already breach the proposed limit? Does that not give an unfair advantage to those clubs for one or two seasons?
It takes into no account club turnover or of those clubs who have progressed many well-thought off-field schemes to generate additional revenue.
Do we really say that Sunderland and Bolton can be compared to Accrington and Barrow? Finally, why should players suffer for the inability of club owners to run a business in a more sustainable way?
As we have seen all too well at Bolton Wanderers, rogue owners and boards who gamble fast and loose with their or other people’s money too often result in calamity.
It is obvious that clubs cannot be trusted to self-regulate nor football authorities to regulate the whole. The only way to impose fit-for-purpose financial/ownership controls on football clubs is by having an independent financial regulator with the required powers to apply punitive measures to those actually at fault rather than their victims.
For a salary cap to work it needs to be applied at all levels and in all countries.
Any cap would only work as an overall figure per team rather than any individual restriction on earnings.
No salary cap should be based on turnover or size of clubs, different leagues would have different limits but all top divisions, should have the same limits.
Clubs would no longer be able to buy all the top players to make a stronger squad.
When a team gets promoted they’ll be allowed to spend more but when relegated they’ll need to sell, or release, players to come down to the required amount.
Knowing this, would allow clubs to manage the risk of relegation and ensure they’re equipped to deal with it, should the worst happen.
It won’t happen though, big clubs have too much control and turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
With regard to the current proposals for Leagues One and Two, they are unworkable without all leagues being included.
It would just make Championship clubs even more determined to spend silly sums to avoid relegation to the lower leagues and make it harder for teams to build squads ready for the league above.
I would like to think that Ian Evatt is already looking to build a squad capable for League One.
That’s the sensible approach for any club with ambition. Get a squad that will only need a couple of additions for the next level rather than having to totally rebuild.
If the salary cap comes in how can the likes of Sunderland get a squad together ready for Championship football?
The reality would be that they’d need to spend big once promoted on pulling together a squad that, without time to gel, would possibly struggle, go straight back down and then they’re back to square one.
It’s a badly thought out, albeit, well-meaning idea that should be swiftly rejected.
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