The EFL has continued to hold constructive discussions over the Easter weekend with representatives of the PFA in respect of the issues created by the COVID-19 crisis, with a particular focus on Clubs in League One and League Two.
In addition, the EFL held further talks with Clubs from those divisions at the end of last week.
The EFL and member Clubs recognise that each Club will hold individual discussions with players and that agreements will be reached at a local level. At the same time, Clubs in League One and League Two have acknowledged the strength of a collective approach to support and inform their decisions.
As a result of these discussions, it has been agreed that the EFL and PFA will form a working group of six Club captains/PFA delegates from League One and Two, supported by a representative nominated by the PFA, to engage in dialogue in respect of players’ wages. While the working group will not be a formal negotiating body, it will help to ensure that players are fully informed as they continue to hold discussions with individual Clubs.
In establishing the new group, the EFL and PFA acknowledge the common problems faced by the League and member Clubs, and the need for all parties to be part of a solution. Dialogue with the working group will enable the League both to listen to the concerns of players and to explain the extent of the financial challenges. It will focus not just on the short term (May and June) but will address the medium-term position from the start of July onwards and into next season.
In order to deal with the most immediate payroll issue, the EFL is recommending to Clubs that local discussions are held with players in respect of the month of April only. A compromise proposal has been agreed between the EFL and the PFA for those Clubs engaged in deferral negotiations with their players, meaning that, up to a maximum of 25 per cent of players’ wages for April may be conditionally deferred within the following limits:
• players earning less than £2,500 per month will be paid in full
• the 25 per cent reduction must not take any player below £2,500 per month.
This is a recommendation and not a directive as there are Clubs who have stated no requirement to take immediate action at this time.
Further conditions may be agreed at a local level through discussions between individual Clubs and players.
The current position in respect of the Championship is that Clubs last week agreed to conduct wage negotiations with players at a local level, while making financial information available to support their position. A number of Championship Clubs have concluded agreements with players and others will be holding discussions this week.