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EFL players advised by PFA on wage deferments – letter sets out advice

There is little doubt that we are living in strange times, strange times indeed. Coronavirus is wreaking its way across the globe, leaving devastation in its wake. Part of that devastation has seen the sporting calendar obliterated – football included.

This shutdown that has led to a set of circumstances football clubs would never think they’d face, forcing teams to adapt and be flexible to what they face. Part of that flexibility has seen some players and clubs reach wage deferral agreements – something the PFA has now warned players to be wary of according to Sky Sports.

The issue of wage deferrals during this time has been driven, in the Championship at least, by Leeds United and Birmingham City, teams whose players and coaching staff have agreed to defer chunks of their salaries to help pay the wages of non-playing and casual staff at their club. This flies in the face of more illustrious clubs in the Premier League who are furloughing their non-playing staff whilst the playing staff remain untouched by any financial penalty.

However, Sky Sports, in quoting a letter from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) that they have seen, mention that the advice being given to players is to hang fire and not make hasty decisions and to contact the PFA before any agreement is made. Part of the letter reads:  “As part of the stakeholders’ meeting last Friday, the PFA requested to see each club’s financial situation before we offer advice to players on whether to accept the terms offered. This will help us to find the best solution for you, as well as the long-term future of your club.”

This advisory tone was then expanded on by the PFA to include something more akin to a warning to players about acting before taking advice. The PFA stated: “Before accepting or signing any paperwork from your club, it is vitally important that squads collectively discuss proposals with the PFA. We have already been working with multiple teams from all divisions and have created a standardised template that can be used when agreeing to temporary financial measures. This ensures that you are legally protected.

The longer this hiatus from football stretches out, the longer fans are made to stay away due to social distancing necessities, the longer clubs will be without their most vital revenue stream. This will continue to hit clubs hard and measures will need to be taken and part of those measures will include looking at outgoings now that incomings have dried up.

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