The Football League are plotting radical action to keep their clubs afloat during the coronavirus crisis, by putting lower-league players on sabbatical.
Football is currently suspended until 30 April at the very earliest as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Clubs in the lower echelons of the football league have taken a massive financial hit as a result, with a large chunk of their income coming from ticket sales.
Last week, the EFL provided struggling clubs with a £50m relief package. But with no signs of football returning anytime soon, more drastic, long-term action is in the pipeline.
In a bid to save clubs in financial ruin, the Daily Mail reports that the EFL and PFA are in discussion with clubs over the possibility of putting players on sabbatical for the remainder of the lockdown.
This is with a view of clubs being able to access the funds made available by the government for businesses as part of their Job Retention Scheme.
In order to do so, players must be granted a leave of absence by clubs. This would enable the government to pay 80% of their wages, up to
Employees who take a leave of absence are not permitted to work, meaning players would be under no obligation to train at home.
The PFA said:
“Several clubs have already approached players with a view to imposing pay deferrals.
“In order to deal with this situation, we have called for an urgent meeting with both the Premier League and the EFL to discuss how we might proceed going forward.”
On Tuesday, Birmingham City became the first Championship club to take pay deferrals, with players earning more than £6,000 per week asked to accept a 50% pay cut.
Meanwhile, both MK Dons and National League side Barnet have both laid off all of their non-playing staff.