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Ian Evatt outlines his issue with EFL's salary caps as they are scrapped

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt has welcomed the removal of salary caps in Leagues One and Two.

Clubs in the bottom two tiers had been working to restrictions this season brought in to better control finances during the Covid-19 pandemic with games continuing to be played behind closed doors.

The caps were voted through by third and fourth-tier clubs in August last year and were set at £2.5million per club in League One and £1.5m per club in League Two.

However, the Professional Footballers’ Association immediately challenged the caps, saying they were “unlawful and unenforceable”, and an independent panel has now forced the caps to be withdrawn.

Wanderers boss Evatt believes it is the right move and wants clubs to be able to spend within their means, not just be governed by a blanket figure.

He also points to how caps could great a gulf to the Championship, which was not subject to the same restrictions.

“I am pleased they are going,” Evatt said.

“I am not against salary caps, full stop, but it needs to be relative to your revenue otherwise what is the point of being Bolton Wanderers and having all these fans and a big stadium, facilities, when we can only spend the same as a Morecambe or a Barrow? It isn’t fair.

“The gaps between the divisions will just become bigger and bigger.

“There’s no cap in the top two, so how are you supposed to develop a squad to compete at those levels? You just can’t.

“For me, it has served a purpose this season and will probably help teams survive the pandemic but moving forwards with my playing cap on, it’s a restriction of trade.

“It has a part to play but it can only be fair if it is relative to the money the club makes.”

The Wanderers boss does however acknowledge that greater checks are needed on owners and whether they have the funds to meet their obligations, given recent high-profile cases close to home. The removal of the caps has seen the EFL revert to the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) regulations that were in effect during the 2019-20 season.

“We have to make sure as an industry that we improve the fit and proper person’s test for people buying clubs and make sure it is for the right reasons,” Evatt said.

“You can’t have people over-spending or gambling on a club’s future trying to gain promotion.

“We can’t lose any more football clubs – Bury or Macclesfield – they are absolute tragedies for everyone involved.

“It starts by getting the right owners in and then we have to make clubs sustainable and self-funding without having to rely on loans, etc.

“That comes down to being in line with your revenue, if it is X then you should be able to spend X. It shouldn’t be one size fits all.”


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