Why Sheffield Wednesday will still be paying their released players next month – even if they find new clubs
Sheffield Wednesday’s wage bill is set to drop considerably next month once a number of big-earners are no longer on it, but it will be the following month when they see the biggest difference.
It was confirmed last month that Joost van Aken, Kadeem Harris, Elias Kachunga, Tom Lees, Matt Penney, Moses Odubajo, Joey Pelupessy, Adam Reach, Jordan Rhodes and Keiren Westwood would all be released by the Owls following the expiration of their current deals come July 1st.
But that doesn’t mean that they’ll be off the wage bill straight away, with rules in the standard English Football League contract detailing a month of ‘severance’ payments for players who have been given free transfers from their previous clubs.
With regards to free transfers, section six of the EFL’s rules and regulations it says, “If such Player's application is successful he shall continue to receive from his Club as severance payment his weekly basic wage for a period of one month from the expiry date of his contract or until the Player signs for another Club, whichever period is the shorter, provided that where a Player signs for a Club within one month at a reduced basic wage then his old Club shall make up the shortfall in basic wage for the remainder of the month.”
In short, what this means is that for up to one month after their contract at Hillsborough ends, Wednesday will still be paying players their full basic weekly wage – unless they find themselves a move elsewhere before the end of July.
If they do move, like with Van Aken and Rhodes, then Wednesday will top-up their wage if they’re earning less than their previous contract at Hillsborough – with the only time the Owls get them completely off the wage bill being if they join another club where they’re earning more than they were before.
For example, with Rhodes joining Huddersfield, if he is earning less than what he earned at Hillsborough then – for one month – the Owls will pay the shortfall between the two basic wages.
This rule is in place for any player who left as a free transfer and had a professional contract, so the likes of Keiren Westwood, Adam Reach and Elias Kachunga will keep being paid, but so will youngsters such as Isaac Rice and Ben Hughes.
With Van Aken and Rhodes having already found clubs, Wednesday’s wage bill will already have dropped substantially even if they do have to top them up, but – given their current financial situation – they’ll be hoping many of the other departees can find themselves new deals elsewhere before the end of this month.
Players such as Reach, Harris, Lees, Penney and Pelupessy have already been linked with various clubs in recent weeks, and it would certainly be in the Owls’ interest if they could get moves wrapped up – ideally on the same, or a higher, basic wage – before July rolls around.
Wednesday are currently in the process of trying to sort out the situation of unpaid wages at the club amid talk of a potential walkout by some players.