Revealed: The NEW League One squad cap and salary rules Sunderland may have to follow as transfer deals eyed
The controversial League One salary cap is gone – but clubs are still set to have to follow some squad cap rules next season.
For the 2020/21 season, third tier clubs were only able to spend up to £2.5million on wages and were limited to registering a squad of 22 players.
And while a challenge by the PFA has seen the salary cap abolished, there will still be limits on what Sunderland and their rivals can spend moving forward and on the number of players they can register.
Exactly what those limits are remains to be seen, but they will be pertinent for Lee Johnson and the club’s executive team as they target a transformational summer on Wearside.
With seven players released, the Black Cats will be in the market for a host of new faces.
Here’s everything we know so far about the rules that may govern the club’s transfer business this summer.
What are the new squad cap proposals for League One clubs?
It’s important to note at this point that nothing has been concretely agreed, but The Portsmouth News have reported that there is a favoured option among League One clubs moving forward.
That option would see clubs allowed to register 22 outfield players for the 2021/22 season – with goalkeepers and players under the age of 21 not included in that number.
Previous plans would have seen clubs limited to registering 20 first-team players, inclusive of goalkeepers, so this is a big improvement in that regard.
These proposals are understood to be broadly supported by clubs, according to The News, but are yet to be finalised and approved.
That will likely come at the EFL AGM, which will be held in June.
Will League One clubs be limited in how much they can spend?
Following the abolition of the salary cap, League One clubs return to the Salary Cost Management Protocol regulations that had previously governed the third tier.
This meant that teams could spend up to 60 per cent of their turnover on player wages.
For a club of Sunderland’s size, that is naturally an advantage.
As things stand, it will be these rules that apply next season – but that could change if fresh financial controls are agreed.
So what does this mean for Sunderland?
As mentioned above, the removal of the salary cap will naturally benefit Sunderland and will allow them to perhaps gazump other offers in League One.
As for the proposed 22-player squad cap, the Black Cats may have to make some room.
Sunderland currently have 15 senior, outfield players registered for the 2021/22 season – Aiden O’Brien, Arbenit Xhemajli, Bailey Wright, Benji Kimpioka, Carl Winchester, Elliot Embleton, George Dobson, Jack Diamond, Jordan Willis, Josh Hawkes, Lynden Gooch, Oliver Younger, Ross Stewart, Tom Flanagan and Will Grigg.
Four more – Charlie Wyke, Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume – have all been given offers.
So were these new squad caps to be introduced – and all four players who were offered deals sign them – then Sunderland would have 19 players registered, and space to bring in just three more outfield players.
However, that number would naturally increase were the Black Cats able to move some players on in the summer.