Canadian Premier League Reveals 2021 Salary Cap Information
The Canadian Premier League has taken a significant step in transparency today, disclosing information regarding the league’s salary cap, average salaries, and new minimum salaries for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season.
The decision of the league to release this information comes amidst plenty of discourse between the prospective player’s union, CPL athletes, and concerned fans following the decisions of several young footballers to leave the game behind early in order to secure financial security.
Heading in to the 2021 CPL season, the league has officially declared that each team will operate with a $1.2 million salary cap, which includes salaries for both players and coaching staff. The league gives figures indicating that player spending has a minimum of $650,000 and a maximum of $850,000, while the coaching and technical staff salaries must land between $350,000 and $550,000.
All-together, the total salary expenditures must fall under the range of $1.2 million.
As we’ve reported before, housing allowances count against this cap, along with travel allowances and individual player bonuses – though these do not include ‘league or club accomplishment bonuses’.
Clanachan states this salary cap is remaining as it was last year, but that the league is planning to raise it in 2022. PFA Canada estimates clubs spent an average of around $500,000 on player salaries in 2019.
As things stand, the league estimates that salary caps eat up about 57% of team revenue on average, and could reach as high as 70% accounting for bonuses. All-told, the Canadian Premier League says it takes an average of $4 million a year for a Canadian Premier League club to operate.
That means that the league is not earning a profit yet, which Clanachan emphasizes was expected at this stage of the CPL’s growth.
We’re not there yet, that’s for sure. We’re going to be a few years into it. Our owners know that. They’ve invested circa $60 million already in this league. We’re in a long-term game here.David Clanachan
In response to the ongoing discussion about low player wages, the Canadian Premier League has posted its own numbers for player finances, stating that the average athlete is making $40,000, which might include housing, car allowances, and incentives. At the top end of the scale where players like Marco Bustos reportedly lie, players make around $77,000.
The bottom end of the scale is where most of the discussion has taken place, with the league now stating that there will be a minimum player salary of $22,000 in 2021. U SPORTS contracts do not apply to this minimum, with Clanachan stating that those deals range between $10,000 and $12,000.
Of the players that we had talked to who disclosed their salaries, none were making the $40,000 average listed by the league, though this may have just been a coincidence.
With PFA Canada becoming an official FIFPRO member last month, pressure has been mounting on the league to begin discussions with the player’s union, which attained a 90% membership rate during its first organizing drive last April.
Now-retired Pacific FC Captain and PFA Canada President Marcel de Jong had called player salaries embarrassing, while former York United assistant coach Carmine Isacco had previously stated that the inaugural campaign’s salary cap was $750,000.
There had been conflicting numbers about previous seasons, with PFA Canada legal counsel Paul Champ stating that many players were still on contracts under the $10,000 range, most of whom are teenagers. Under the new financial terms disclosed in today’s league announcement, these athletes would be set for a raise.
Look at the amount of young Canadians that are playing professional football today that weren’t playing it prior to 2019. That’s the bottom line. That’s what we’re doing. We’re creating a soccer economy in the country.David Clanachan
The league’s comissioner stated that the league is seeking to improve its own standards and conditions on an annual basis, though it’s unclear if he has agreed to open discussions with PFA Canada as of yet.
Still, today’s news is a big step for the Canadian Premier League as a whole: with general salary information now out in the public, fans have a much better idea of what budgets clubs are working with, and how much players should expect to be paid at minimum.
We can’t shoot for the moon right away. We’ve got to be careful and we’ve got to be purposeful the way we go forward. I was taught a long time ago [that] to be good in business you’ve got to stay in businessDavid Clanachan
The Canadian Premier League is hoping to have a full 28 game season that is set to begin in late May, though the realities of such largely depend on the country’s success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is developing story and may be subject to updates.