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EFL clubs vote to introduce wage caps into League 1 and 2 clubs but the PFA brand them unlawful

EFL clubs have voted in favour of salary caps but they've been branded as unlawful and unenforceable by the players’ union.

Clubs like Gillingham in League 1 will be limited to a 'squad salary cap' of £2.5m per season - £1.5m in League 2 - a figure that includes basic wages, taxes, bonuses, image rights, agents’ fees and other fees.

Gillingham are in the same division as big-spending Sunderland
Gillingham are in the same division as big-spending Sunderland

It’s a move that has been voted through by clubs in the lower two divisions of the EFL. Discussions continue with Championship clubs in respect to amendments to their own financial controls.

Teams relegated from the Championship will be permitted to cap all contracts at the ‘divisional average’ prior to the club’s relegation until those contracts expire, giving them time to adjust to the new level.

While the Gills current spend is below the £2.5m figure, many of their rivals are spending sums much more than that amount, with the likes of big-spending Sunderland and Ipswich Town remaining in the division.

The move is designed to level the playing field. Clubs will, however, be able to award players additional sums outside of that wage cap, through payments linked to a club’s progression in cup competitions or promotion bonuses.

EFL CEO, 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.

“Over the last two weeks the discussions amongst clubs in both Leagues One and Two have been healthy and constructive, allowing us to reach a clear consensus today and I am pleased that the clubs have determined to adopt the new approach.

“We will now work with all Clubs, the PFA and, where appropriate, other stakeholders to implement the new rules and continue our efforts to bring long-term sustainability to the EFL.”

Soon after the EFL’s announcement, the Professional Footballers’ Association said they were disappointed by the outcome of the vote.

They said: “The EFL has ignored its legal obligation to consult with the PFA and the PFNCC (the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee).

“As such, the legal advice we have received is clear that the salary cap envisaged by the EFL would be unlawful and unenforceable.

“The PFA has already served its Notice of Arbitration on the EFL and until such time that arbitration is determined one way or another the new regulations should have no effect.

“While we share the league’s commitment to protecting the long-term sustainability of the Leagues, the salary cap proposals voted on today have been rushed through without the proper consideration or consultation.”

More on the Gills: Striker offered improved contract offer

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