Why player wages have 'halved' as Portsmouth and football adjust to post-Covid financial challenges

Player wages outside the Premier League have been halved as football adjusts to post-Covid existence.

By Neil Allen
Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:55 am
Skipper Tom Naylor is among those Pompey players asked to take a pay reduction to remain at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Skipper Tom Naylor is among those Pompey players asked to take a pay reduction to remain at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

That’s the verdict of Omid Arbabamin who works for SME 83 Football Agency.

The Chichester-based agent insists ‘basic economics’ have driven down player earnings and forced the industry to refocus on financial reality.

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Arbabamin, who represents Ronan Curtis and Harry Kavanagh and is a lifelong Blues fan, can empathise with the situation.

Yet Pompey are far from alone faced with such challenges.

‘The main streams of income are match-day revenue, commercial revenue, broadcasting revenue and then transfer fee revenue,’ Arbabamin told The News.

‘The main match-day revenue is completely gone. People are not going to prioritise buying a club shirt which they can’t wear to the stadium because there’s no game.

‘With commercial revenue, the main one is sponsorship, yet there are no people at games to see all the adverts. Nobody can hear the Tannoy announce the sponsor of the corner flag when the ball goes out for a corner.

‘In general, consumer spending is low and football isn’t exempt from the whole British economy. If anything, as an entertainment industry and a luxury, football is hit worse.

‘The whole thing is basic economics. If the club doesn't have revenue, how can they spend it? So wages are going to fall, of course they are.

‘Expectations need to be managed and that’s what I am having to do with every player, even all the way down to youth level getting their first pro contract.

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‘All clubs are having to make wage reductions. I would say it has been slashed in half.

‘I’ve seen players get upwards of £50,000 a week in the Championship, that’s not happening any more.

‘The offers coming in are around £10,000 mark – and you’ll be lucky to even get that depending on what position you are and your age.

‘It’s no-one’s fault, it’s the economy in general.’

The transfer window reopens on June 9. For those whose present deals are expiring, contracts at new clubs are not valid until July 1.

And, according to Arbabamin, the current wage situation may even drive some surprise transfers.

He added: ‘A player might think they can earn the same money being a top earner at a lesser club and be closer to home - so they’ll do that for a year until things get better.

‘Perhaps sign a one-year contract or maybe if you get promoted in that team, you can be in a completely different situation.

‘Players understand the situation. Which is why you may see some leave for what the fans may see as a lesser club.’

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