Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has warned players must take wholesale wage cuts - or 1,000 of them will end up on the dole.

Scally insists players at all levels from Premier League down to League Two will have to drastically reduce their contracts to save football from the coronavirus crisis.

Businessman Scally believes up to 45 clubs in the EFL will be in danger while unless the “reset button” is pressed and even top flight clubs will struggle to pay wages.

Scally, one of the biggest voices in the EFL, believes there should be a “solidarity plan” where every club in all four divisions comes together and:

AGREE wholesale wage cuts and not to poach players from each other so players will have to accept it

WEALTHY Premier League giants like Manchester City provide loans to keep lower division clubs alive

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has warned about the impact on EFL clubs
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has warned about the impact on EFL clubs

A “SOLIDARITY TAX” to force clubs who pay fines on overspending into a pot to ease the cash crisis

EVERY player drastically reduces their costs for the next three months to save football.

Scally said: “If the PFA says players won’t take a pay cut then you will find most clubs in Leagues One and Two won’t be paying them. Then you will have 20 players at each club, 50 clubs, 1,000 players out of work and Gordon Taylor is not stupid. He will know that.

“It will be exactly the same in the Premier League, believe me. If this goes on for a long time, there’s no way that Premier League clubs can carry on paying players £100,000-a-week, let alone £200,000-a-week. No chance.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is one of the league's top earners on £350k-per-week
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is one of the league's top earners on £350k-per-week

“If you’ve got a player on £3,000-a-week in League One, they maybe take home about £8,500-a-month, and how much do they need? You can take a mortgage holiday in these are desperate times. You don’t need too much to get by. They’ve got to readjust - or be out of work.

“If you’re a Premier League star, got five cars, then just don’t pay the lease for three months. There’s something not right about the wealth in the Premier League but this is doomsday, this is armageddon.

“It will be a wake-up call. The Ferraris will be going, the Lamborghini too. Fans have had enough of it. Football is in a bubble and maybe it needs to burst.

“If it means wage cuts then that’s how it’s got to be. If we show solidarity, all four divisions, the 91 clubs, we all agree not to buy from each other and then none of the players can move and they’ll have to take it or leave it when it comes to the contracts.

Scally has called on PFA chief Gordon Taylor for action
Scally has called on PFA chief Gordon Taylor for action

“If Gordon Taylor turns round and says: ‘You’re in breach of contract, they can all walk free.’ OK, let them all walk free and see where they end up.

“I think it will be well received by the fans. I reckon people will be more comfortable if football goes back to the real world. No-one wants to read about £100m transfers - that’s obscene when people and society is struggling and it’s life and death.

“The state-owned fund that owns Manchester City, they’ve not got to give football anything, but why not give football a soft loan of £100m over five years, ten years, to League One or League Two clubs would get us through six months and be a drop in the ocean for them.

“I’m disappointed that something like that has not happened but there are talks between the Premier League, EFL and PFA so I hope something can be sorted - but it should be.

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“There should be a solidarity pot. Championship clubs would be forced to pay 20 per cent of their losses. If you make £50m loss then pay £10m into the pot. That would soon reduce their losses!”

Scally has paid all his players up to the end of March, has now sent a four page letter to all of them this weekend asking them to readjust during the next three months but says deferrals will not be enough.

“Deferrals don’t help us. If we defer all the wages then I’ve got to find £600,000 in a few months’ time. Where am I going to find that? We’ve lost the games. We can’t treat staff differently from players,” said Scally.

“Anything is possible if we all come together. In Leagues One or Two, you’ve probably only got four or five really wealthy owners, if you look across the two divisions then you’re probably talking about 40 or 45 clubs in serious danger.”