Agents approach Portsmouth to resolve players' futures - but handed a stark warning

Pompey have already been approached by agents regarding players’ contracts after the League One salary cap was withdrawn.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:36 pm
Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough, Ryan Williams, Tom Naylor and Andy Cannon are among the 12 players out of contract this summer

But representatives are ‘forgetting’ the devastation the Covid-19 crisis has had on the Blues’ finances when discussing fresh terms.

An independent arbitration panel ruled in favour of the Professional Footballers’ Association to immediately remove the salary cap.

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That means the Blues can explore the possibility of retaining their key men whose deals could previously not be renewed.

Among the 11 players out of contract this summer are regulars Tom Naylor, Andy Cannon, Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough and Ryan Williams.

Speaking to the Tony Goodhall Fans’ Conference held on February 10, chief operating officer Tony Brown admitted players’ agents have been asking to negotiate new contracts.

But Pompey are still not in a position to offer the sort of wages they were able to before the coronavirus pandemic.

The club has been losing around £700,000 per month for almost a year with fans locked out of Fratton Park for all but two games – at a reduced capacity of 2,000 spectators.

According to the meeting’s minutes, Brown said: ‘The financial outlook remains challenging.

‘We’ve only had two matches with fans, each with 2,000 attending – so it’s obviously been a challenging year. The Premier League bailout helped to some extent and has been split on the basis of lost turnover but it’s only covered a very small proportion of our losses.

‘I’m preparing budgets for both League One and Championship to determine how best to manoeuvre our way through the challenges facing all clubs next season on different scenarios on reduced capacity.

‘The government are helping so many other entertainment industries, but so far it has not offered any direct help to football whatsoever.

‘Moving forward all clubs will need to see direct government support for next season.

‘I’m pleased the salary cap has gone albeit the matter has not yet been fully resolved by EFL and it remains open to being revamped.

‘We wanted to retain a competitive edge from our high attendances to put that extra money back on the pitch for the supporters and any salary cap would level the playing field and result in an inevitable drop off in attendances.

‘Agents are already asking about new contracts post-salary cap and seemingly are forgetting Covid losses all clubs have suffered.’