?19,000 a week: that's the average Premiership wage

Soccer Nick Harris THE average Premiership footballer earns less than ?19,000-a-week and over half support a salary cap according to an astonishing new survey.

The surprising findings confound the stereotype of the English player as a playboy demanding excessive wages in return for a few hours work.

The survey found that the more a player earns, the more likely he is to support a salary cap with almost 60 per cent of all players favour of limiting the amount any club spends on its total wage bill.

Players were asked the specific question: "Bearing in mind the financial problems that have affected many clubs in the past few years, would you support a rule that says that not more than 75 per cent of a club's income should be spent on its total wage bill?"

Across all divisions, 58 per cent were supportive, rising to 64 per cent in the Premiership.

The figure was 54 per cent in the Championship, 59 per cent in League One and 56 per cent in League Two.

The survey shows that the average basic salary of a Premiership footballer is £676,000 (?972,000) a year, or £13,000 (?18,700) per week. That figure typically rises by between 60 and 100 per cent when performance-related bonuses, including for actually playing, are added.

The basic pay represents an average rise in earnings of 65 per cent since 2000, the last occasion that a large-scale study was done. The average then was £409,000 (?588,000) a year, or almost £8,000 (?11,500) a week.

The average basic annual Championship salary is now £195,750 (?236,500) , up from £128,000 (?184,000) six years ago, or an increase of 53 per cent. The average in League One is now £67,850 (?97,5000) (up from £54,600, or a rise of 24 per cent), and in League Two £49,600 (?71,300) (up from £38,800, or a rise of 28 per cent).

The number of Premiership players with basic pay of more than £1m per year has risen to around 150, or 29.5 per cent of top-flight players over the age of 20. The single highest-earning age group is 28-year-olds, with a basic average of £1.16m (?1.7m) a year, or £22,300 (?32,000) per week. The highest-earning age bracket is 27 to 28-year-olds, with an average of £899,500 (?1.3m) per year.

The survey, done in conjunction with the players' union, the PFA, is only the second time that salaries have ever been confirmed by the players themselves.

The first time was six years ago, also in response to a PFA questionnaire, seeking views on a wide range of issues from the country's professionals. A representative sample of nearly 400 players, from across all four professional divisions, have responded to the current survey on a confidential basis.

Wage data from the survey in 2000 has since been used to assist numerous players who have had their careers cut short by injury in settlement claims.

* £195,750 (?236,500) - the average basic annual salary in the Championship

* £67,850 (?97,500) - the average basic annual salary in League One

* £49,600 (?71,300) - the average basic annual in League Two