Doncaster Rovers CEO on the League One salary cap, how it will impact the club and what is needed to make it work

Doncaster Rovers should be able to operate fairly comfortably within the new League One squad salary cap as they begin their transfer activity for the coming season in earnest.

By Liam Hoden
Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 7:00 am

That is the verdict of chief executive Gavin Baldwin who believes the only stumbling block would be player bonuses, if they were allowed to go unchecked.

Under the new regulations voted in last week, League One clubs have a whole squad salary cap of £2.5million per season which includes wages, performance-related bonuses and agent fees. It does not however include wages for players under the age of 21.

“Our model of four, potentially five, loan players from Premier League and Championship clubs and aged under 21 basically means we operate within the cap and without concern,” he told the Free Press.

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“We’re comfortable that we’re operating within the cap.

“The bit we have to be mindful of, is that because bonuses are included within the cap. There is leeway on the calculations within the cap so we’re hopeful it won’t cause us too many concerns.

“You could stick everyone on £200 per week but if they got £2,000 every time you won, you could quickly find yourselves in trouble.

“We’ve understood the parameters of where we could end up and we’re comfortable that with a good season we wouldn’t be called before the EFL.”

Baldwin reiterated that he would have preferred any salary cap to be based on a percentage of the revenue generated by each club, as it would reward those seeking to boost off-field earnings.

The chief executive also believes while the intention of the cap is honourable, it will require the further introduction of further measures to prevent some clubs from overspending.

He said: “I think in isolation it won’t achieve stable football clubs going forward and if it is to work then it needs additional measures to support it.

“I personally, working for Doncaster Rovers, would have preferred a percentage of revenue model because that encourages us to work hard off the field to support the team on the field.

“If I was a complete neutral, I would probably argue for an owners’ bond where they can spend what they like as long as they put it in up front.

“However I do understand that a salary cap will demonstrate to the outside world that football is trying to get a grip of expenses and it’s an overt display that recognises the need for change.

“I think as long as it comes with additional measures it will achieve that.

“Where I do have sympathy is that the bigger clubs can easily afford the £2.5m, some of the clubs in League One probably still can’t afford the £2.5m. It doesn’t mitigate an owner putting more money in and not being able to afford it.

“What I would want to do is level the playing field somewhat. If a club can work hard off the field and drive other revenues and another club doesn’t put the same effort in, I’d want the first club to be able to put a better team on the pitch because it deserves to.

“But I do understand it is about the bigger picture and we need to demonstrate to the government, the public and our partners that football is getting a grip on expenses.”

The EFL faced a potential legal challenge from the PFA over the salary cap, which the players’ union declared ‘unlawful and unenforceable.’

Discussions between the two parties are to be held in the bid to reach agreement.

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