Sunderland

The scrapping of a controversial salary cap means Sunderland have “increased their chances” of winning promotion if they remain in League One next season. 

That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after the PFA won a landmark case against the Football League regarding the wage ceiling previously imposed on League One and Two clubs.

The ruling of the independent arbitration panel was announced on 9 February.

The salary cap was first introduced in August 2020 and set at £2.5million for League One and £1.5m for League Two clubs.

Maguire thinks that Sunderland, as one of the “bigger” clubs in League One, would likely benefit from the scrapping of the upper limit if they remain in the division next season.

“Sunderland voted against the salary cap when the votes took place in August along with the majority of the large clubs in League One,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

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“The vote was 16 in favour, which was just enough. You needed a two-thirds majority so they just managed to squeeze it through.

“Sunderland weren’t happy, nor were Ipswich, Charlton, Hull etcetera, the clubs with the bigger fanbases and revenue streams.

“So this new development will give those clubs an advantage in their ability to recruit players on more lucrative contracts, which in turn will increase their chances of being promoted.

“It won’t have a significant impact on this season because we’ve had both transfer windows.

“If Sunderland are still in League One next season, they will have a better chance.

“The downside is for the smaller clubs who had up until this decision had a level playing field.”

Lee Johnson’s Sunderland are currently 7th in League One, two points outside the playoff places with a game in hand.

Following their relegation from the Championship in 2017-18, the Black Cats lost in the 2019 playoff Final and finished in 8th place last term.

In other news, Kevin Phillips has given his exclusive verdict on new Sunderland signing Ross Stewart.