The true financial cost to Portsmouth and promotion ambition should feared salary cap be enforced

Pompey will be restricted to offering players £1,800-a-week on average should salary cap proposals be enforced.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:00 pm
The proposed Football League salary cap will have massive implications on Pompey. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP
The proposed Football League salary cap will have massive implications on Pompey. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

And that represents a massive slump from the current wage bill, which is understood to average in the region of £3,500.

They are the financial implications of the Football League’s proposed £2.5m wage cap for League One.

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Proposals include League One clubs operating with a 22-man squad for 2020-21, which will be reduced to 21 (2021-22) and 20 (2022-23). Although under-21s will not be counted.

However, the requirement to operate with a £2.5m wage bill represents the biggest concern for Pompey.

In addition to player wages, that total must include player bonuses, signing-on fees, agent fees, National Insurance contributions and relocation costs.

Promotion bonuses are exempt from the cap, as are management and coaching salaries, and transfer fees.

Clubs will be allowed to buy players, although any money recouped from sales will not be allowed to extend the salary cap.

Last summer, the sales of Matt Clarke and Jamal Lowe helped Pompey record an annual profit of £2.05m.

That business also drove the costly recruitment of John Marquis, Ellis Harrison and Marcus Harness, with the wage bill increased as a consequence.

Yet, under new proposals, the wage bill would not be allowed to rise beyond £2.5m, regardless of a handsome windfall from player sales.

Another crucial factor centres on existing players, whose wage will, for ease of calculation, be regarded as the league average for the remainder of their contract.

Should the club wish to extend such deals, the likelihood is they’ll be unable to match some players’ existing pay, let alone increase it to retain them.

Finally, there are geographical concerns which will impact significantly on Pompey.

The higher cost of living in London and the south will not be taken into consideration and must be absorbed by players in their pay.

Effectively, players can earn more representing clubs situated in the north, where accommodation is cheaper.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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