Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin predicts civil war for English football as clubs prepare for wage cap vote

Mark Catlin believes the EFL wage cap vote could send the game spinning into a legal war.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 8:36 am

The Pompey chief executive suspects the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will take their fight against the proposals to the court if they are voted through in today’s meeting.

League One and League Two clubs are due to meet to decide whether to support the proposals forwarded by the EFL.

A total of 16 of the 24 clubs in each division are required to give approval to see a ceiling on playing budgets enforced for the 2020-21 season.

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Pompey are in support of change to protect clubs in danger of going bust amid the coronavirus pandemic, but are vehemently against what is currently on the table.

Catlin believes a similar stance is being taken by the PFA, but feels the players’ body will not accept a plan he views as a restraint of trade.

The PFA have already hinted at the course of action they could take after deeming the cap potentially ‘unlawful’ when the EFL plans emerged in June – a stance reiterated in a statement released last night.

Catlin reckons a decision in favour of the proposal opens the door to what could be a messy court battle.

Mark Catlin

He said: ‘I think there could be legal ramifications should the vote go through.

‘My understanding is if the vote goes through the PFA aren’t going to be happy.

‘The PFA like us are all for self-sustainability and no one’s arguing for clubs to be able to spend more than what they can afford.

‘But under these proposals there are clubs who can spend more than what they can afford.

‘Yet, the larger clubs who can afford to spend more are being blocked from doing so.

‘I would argue that is not only a restriction of trade in terms of players limiting their earning, but it’s also anti-competitive.’

Catlin goes into the vote with more hope than expectation of a favourable outcome for Pompey, with the cap proposals suiting the majority of clubs in League One by levelling the play field with bigger outfits like Pompey, Sunderland and Ipswich.

With self-interest dominating, the Blues CEO explained even what appeared to be a simple issue of allowing clubs relegated from the Championship a vote wasn’t straightforward.

He added:‘Even something as simple as allowing the clubs into the league to vote for it turned out to be a difficult thing to get through in the end.

‘There was an assumption those three would vote against the cap.

‘However, it’s not even certain the three clubs coming down and due enter League One from above will vote against the salary cap even with vastly superior budgets, given the transition phase and the difficulties they’re in individually.'

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