The Chairman of the English Football League has claimed that players would accept being paid less in order to receive greater job security. Speaking after a two day meeting in Cyprus, The English Football League Chairman Greg Clarke has revealed that clubs have agreed to find new ways to curb spiralling deb in the Football League. The meeting was set after it was revealed that the debt across the 72 clubs of the Football League was growing at a compound rate of over 15-20 per cent.
Although the Championship is one of the most watched football leagues in Europe, the revenues of clubs fall well short of those in elite leagues across Europe. The manner in which clubs are spending in the Championship far out way the money they take it. For a league that does not bring in massive incomes for its 24 teams the wages and contracts being offered to players are unsustainable.
There now must be a time for change in English football. Players may be paid vast sums of money at times in their careers but the reality of a footballer in the Football League is that they are out of work a great deal. If clubs could offer players longer contracts but offer less wages, the disparity between club and player could be reconciled. For too long it has been the argument that players play for the money because at any time they could be let go. Being out of work is a very real issue in the Football League.
The two day meeting has clearly brought about a change in mind-set. The 72 clubs have agreed that any measures have to 'in time reduce the risk of clubs becoming insolvent.' Deloitte's annual football review, which showed that wages in the Championship had grown by £129m in the four years to 2009-10 - twice the amount of revenue growth. Net debt of the Championship stood at a staggering £875.
A salary cap is the only way for English league clubs to meet the Financial Fair Play protocols where clubs have to break even to be able to compete in Uefa tournaments. The Premier League will have to look at installing a salary cap in order to compete in its premier competitions and if the Football League were to adopt such measures and prove they work without harming the standard or quality of the league then what choice would elite leagues have in implementing such measures.
A salary cap has to have the backing of the whole league. Clubs who struggle taking in large revenues but with good chances of promotion into higher leagues would be crazy to oppose such measures. It would create fair play in English football as well as allowing clubs to begin to break even. Football is the only business where football clubs are allowed to run with huge operating losses, the dependency on debt has to change.