National League players could face huge wage cuts ahead of planned changes to contracts.
New conditions, due to come in on July 1 as part of the Football Association’s changes to non-league player contracts, will see injured players in the National League only paid in full for 12 weeks.
If they are ill or injured longer than four months, clubs will be able to reduce their wages to statutory sick pay – just £99.35 a week and payable for 28 weeks – until they are fit.
This is a joke surely! Who has come up with the idea sat around a table and thought you know what how does this sound.. all agree yep let’s do it!! Seriously it’s an actual embarrassment! To all the players who play in non league and this document applies to you then I’m sorry!! pic.twitter.com/dB6XOGWmQb
— Charlie Austin (@chazaustin10) March 22, 2023
For those playing below the fifth tier they will only get their full wage for six weeks.
Players also face having their contract terminated, with three months’ notice, if a club instructed medic feels they are unable to play for four months. It means players with long-term injuries like Achilles ruptures or ACL tears face being laid off.
The PFA has told the FA it cannot support the measures and feel it gives clubs greater powers to release players.
Having had my career cut short through injury and now working at a non league club, seeing the dedication, time and bodies put on the line for @leistonfc I find this a totally insensitive change with no thought for the well-being physically and mentally of the players pic.twitter.com/cW3SQOjjlm
— Darren Eadie (@eadie11) March 22, 2023
The PFA does not represent National League players, although 80 per cent are former members having played in the EFL, so its hands are tied in terms of official measures but it has contacted players to highlight the changes.
A statement read: “The PFA does not have an agreement in place with the FA or the League to represent National League players as their recognised trade union.
“However, our figures show that almost 80 per cent of National League players are former PFA members, having at one point been professionals or professional scholars with EFL or Premier League clubs.
PFA statement on the introduction of new non-league contracts
Read more ⤵️
— Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) March 22, 2023
“Unfortunately, we believe that the new Non-League contract represents a reduction in player rights and so it is important that players understand these changes and what they might mean for their rights from next season.”
A statement from an FA spokesperson read: “Following a period of consultation with the relevant stakeholders, we have updated the standard form Non-League contract in order to better reflect current employment legislation and to provide each party with greater certainty in this area.
“In doing so, we have sought to balance the interests of both clubs and players.”