Worrying EFL update as Sunderland fight to stop flat salary cap ruling
Sunderland are against a flat salary cap being introduced because it would severely hamper their spending power in the third tier
12 JUL 2020
Sunderland are one of just two clubs said to be opposing new salary cap rules across the EFL, according to a worrying weekend report.
EFL chairman Rick Parry has previously spoken of his desire to introduce flat salary caps across all three EFL divisions, describing it as 'absolutely essential'.
And according to a Sun on Sunday report, most EFL clubs are in favour of the proposals, with only Sunderland and Porstmouth named as being opposed.
For Sunderland, the introduction of a flat salary cap across League One would feel like an unfair levelling of the playing field.
Their wage bill currently eclipses almost every other League One side, but it does so while complying with the current salary cap rules which allow League One and Two sides to spend just a percentage of expected turnover of player wages.
Sunderland's owners have long been champions of EFL clubs running more sustainably, but the flat salary cap proposals would see Sunderland limited to spending the same on wages as a club like Accrington Stanley, for example, whose turnover is far lower than the Black Cats' largely because of the number of supporters each club gets in the ground on average.
Speaking about the proposals recently, Sunderland CEO Jim Rodwell said: "We don't think that the proposed flat cap on salaries makes sense.
"We are all for running sustainable football clubs, but sustainability is not the same as levelling the playing field.
"Next thing you know there will be conversations about sharing gate receipts like they did in the early 1980s!
"I think the EFL are oversimplifying the sustainability issue.
"For a lot of clubs in League One, a £2.5m cap on wages is highly attractive, but our argument is that as a big football club we can generate more revenue and therefore we should be able to spend that revenue on players while remaining sustainable.
"This issue is not supposed to be about level playing fields, it is supposed to be about sustainability and trying to avoid what has happened to Wigan this week, and to Bury [who were expelled from the EFL due to financial problems] last summer.
"We agree with sustainability, but this is not the way forward at all."
It's not known exactly when any votes will take place, bit clubs need some clarity soon as they start to look ahead to next season.
For Sunderland, even after releasing numerous players this summer their wage bill would still eclipse proposed £2.5m and it is desperately short of reinforcements in its current state, with Phil Parkinson targeting seven or eight new arrivals in an ideal scenario.
But presuming this would come into effect immediately, exactly how it will work will be an equally complicated matter. Clubs would surely need to be given a grace period given that a lot of the contracts signed were done so before such rulings were even in the plans.
Not just that, but given how short of numbers Sunderland are, the question would need answering on if they could still sign players given they're already over the mark? The Black Cats could be in a situation whereby they're forced to sign under-21 players whose salaries aren't expected to be included, allowing more space in squads for younger players and offering more opportunities for the next generation of stars.