Blades: Sheffield United seek clarification about salary cap proposal

Ched Evans: The Wales international striker, one of the highest earners at Bramall Lane, is a target for Middlesbrough.
Ched Evans: The Wales international striker, one of the highest earners at Bramall Lane, is a target for Middlesbrough.

SHEFFIELD United are taking part in a consultation process with the Football League aimed at finalising its new Financial Fair Play framework, The Star has learned.

The discussions, which also include Preston North End, are believed to focus on ensuring a smooth transition for clubs relegated from the Championship last season as they attempt to abide by new regulations designed to tackle debt.

United’s delegate voted in favour of the plans, which will see teams in League One adopt a salary cap next season, at the FL’s annual general meeting in Cyprus last week.

But officials at Bramall Lane, together with their counterparts at Deepdale, are seeking further clarification about how the system, called Salary Cost Management Protocol, will be rolled-out.

“Most people agreed this is a sensible idea,” a source close to those talks revealed. “But those coming down into the division have entered into legally binding contracts with many players which are set at Championship level and, unless these players leave, they have to honour them which could have an impact.

“It might be sensible for them to be given time to adjust while still being asked to fulfil certain criteria which makes sure they do not enjoy an instant advantage over everyone else.”

The SCMP currently operates at a 60 per cent threshold in League Two with a five per cent drop scheduled for the 2011/12 campaign.

United’s most recent set of accounts recorded a turnover of £20.5m which, if the above levels had been adopted last term, would have enabled them to spend around £12.3m on wages.

However, plc chairman Kevin McCabe recently revealed that relegation could cost them around £12m in lost revenue.

Although United are supportive of the plans, which were agreed in principle by FL members, they are understandably keen to analyse them and the possible implications in further detail.

Indeed, there is a school of thought behind the scenes at Bramall Lane that, in time, they could actually work in United’s favour given the attendances they enjoy. Michel Platini, the UEFA president, welcomed the FL’s decision.

“We are delighted that enlightened football bodies across the continent are trying to restore financial sanity to football on a national level just as we are trying to do on a European level,” he said.

As two of the top earners, the United futures of Ched Evans and Darius Henderson has been the subject of much speculation.