The EFL have been warned that it would be “unlawful” to try to railroad through salary caps as the Professional Footballers’ Association gears up for a fight over the issue.
Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, told Telegraph Sport this month that English football will be inviting “Saracens-style” controversy if it opts to introduce salary caps that he fears would be open to widespread abuse and serve as a deterrent to future investors.
Now the PFA has circulated a two-page document to players informing them that their clubs are not allowed to cut their wages without permission and that a salary cap could not be drafted in without proper consultation with the players’ union.
EFL clubs are expected to vote on new budgetary controls that could limit annual spending on wages to £2.5 million in League One - which would equate to an average salary of £2,400 a week - and £1.25m in League Two.
Championship clubs are also in talks about a salary cap of their own which would likely range between £18m and £20m.
In their letter to players, the PFA spells out concerns that wages are expected to drop in the long term as clubs look to pay less in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
But the union has told players not to feel bullied into accepting changes to current deals that would contravene existing legal agreements.
Taylor - irked by what he felt were attempts to exclude the PFA from discussions - has already made it clear that salary-cap proposals would need to go before the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC), of which the players’ union is a member.
“It would be unlawful for the EFL and its clubs to vote on this issue and change the EFL regulations without first consulting the PFNCC, which is the appropriate forum for matters relating to players contracts,” the PFA wrote.
“Your club cannot change your salary without your consent, as has been the case with furlough and deferral arrangements. If you are told by your club that your salary has to reduce in line with the proposed salary cap, please contact your local PFA contact.
“A potential club might tell you that you have to accept a lower salary because the salary cap is being introduced from next season.
“However, until such time that a salary cap is agreed by the members of the PFNCC, you are not obliged to agree to a reduced salary in line with the proposed salary cap. We do however envisage clubs looking to pay less for player salaries post-Covid-19.”
Saracens, the English rugby union club, were fined £5.36m and deducted a total of 105 points, which led to their relegation from the Gallagher Premiership this season, after being found to have flouted the sport’s salary cap for three successive years.
There have also been multiple breaches in rugby league since the Super League introduced a salary cap in 1998 and Taylor is convinced it would be no different in football.