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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 14:37 GMT
PFA slams wage cut plan
Former Derby County striker Malcolm Christie
Derby were forced to sell striker Malcolm Christie
The Professional Footballers' Association has slammed Football League proposals to force players to accept wage cuts if their clubs are relegated.

The PFA insists it is unfair and impractical for players to be singled out as the main scapegoats for their clubs' problems.

They also believe that the League are wrong to highlight just one small issue within a much wider financial crisis.

The League wants the PFA to agree to the inclusion of a clause in all contracts signed after this summer which would mean an automatic 50% wage cut for relegated Premiership players.

Incentivised contracts have got to be something for the individual to negotiate
PFA deputy chief executive Mick McGuire

"We are dead against it because it is not hitting the crux of the problem," PFA deputy chief executive Mick McGuire said.

"Our experience from looking at over 30 clubs is that the level of salary is only one of a number of problems clubs have.

"It is an accumulation of mismanagement that has left them in those positions and it is not right that players have to bear that burden."

Whilst the League accepts that players' wages are not the sole cause of the game's financial problems they insist a divisional pay structure is the way forward.

League spokesman John Nagle said: "The differential in wage levels between divisions has now become a genuine threat to the sustainability of clubs.

"There is widespread recognition that something needs to be done to give the market a fairer balance. We believe that divisional pay could be the answer."

But while the PFA agrees that a degree of extra incentivisation within players' contracts might be the answer the union criticised the League's proposal of standard cuts across the board.

"Incentivised contracts have got to be something for the individual to negotiate," added McGuire.

"It has got to be down to individual choice and that is why the PFA are against salary capping and the unilateral way of doing it.

"There have got to be proper negotiations with a more imaginative approach to incentivised contracts.

"But the problems for clubs going down go far beyond the issue of players' salaries."

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