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Men’s Football Salary cap would do more harm than good, PFA lawyer says

SALARY caps are not what football needs, according to the lawyer who helped to force the EFL to abandon its plans to limit wage spending.

Caps of £2.5 million per club in League One and £1.5m per club in League Two were voted through in August last year, but were withdrawn in February after a challenge from the Professional Footballers’ Association led to an arbitration process.

Nick De Marco, who acted for the PFA in the case, said: “A salary cap would do more harm than good. In the rush to act fast, the appeal of a quick and easy fix carries enormous risk.

“Just ask the third and fourth tiers of the English Football League, who this year were forced to abandon a new salary cap in the middle of the season.

“The league has refused to publish the tribunal’s findings, but the lesson for others is clear: even if they come with the best intentions, top-down diktats never work.”

De Marco, writing on the website of world players’ union Fifpro, said that a “common set of rules” which could work across different legal systems was necessary, as he recognised that financial stability of clubs is very much in the interests of players.

He branded the EFL’s approach misguided, adding: “By setting the cap at the lowest level in each division, the league prohibited those clubs who could safely afford to spend more on salaries while operating within their means.

“This dragged wages down, limited competition between clubs, and widened the gap between League One and the Championship, which was not covered by the cap. The failed experiment points to a deeper problem.”

Derby’s big spending on player wages was one of the factors which led to them running unsustainable losses which recently forced the Championship side into administration.

European football’s governing body Uefa is consulting with clubs, leagues, national associations and Fifpro over plans to update its financial regulations.

One measure it is considering is to cap wage spending at 70 per cent of the revenue a club earns, with any overspend subject to a “luxury tax.”


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