April 27, 2019 / 10:15 AM / 23 days ago

Soccer: EFL asks Bolton to play last two games amid player boycott

(Reuters) - The English Football League (EFL) has instructed Championship side Bolton Wanderers to complete their final two league fixtures a day after suspending this weekend’s game against Brentford.

Saturday’s home match had been called off following a statement from the players of the already-relegated team who decided to boycott the remaining league fixtures over unpaid wages.

"Following the decision to suspend the fixture between Bolton Wanderers and Brentford late on Friday evening, the EFL Board has determined that Bolton Wanderers must complete their two outstanding matches in the Sky Bet Championship," the EFL said in a statement here

“The club has been instructed to now make the appropriate arrangements for the rearrangement of Saturday’s game at the earliest opportunity.

“In issuing this directive, the board is aware that a number of the club’s professional players may not make themselves available but is satisfied that a team can be selected from the players they have registered and available to them.”

The club, 23rd in the table in the second-tier competition, are also scheduled to visit Nottingham Forest on the final day of the season.

The EFL also said it was concerned about the current ownership of Bolton Wanderers and would look to work with both parties to find a resolution for the sake of the club and its supporters.

Bolton said on Saturday that Laurence Bassini, who had agreed a deal last week to buy the club subject to EFL approval, had failed to make funds available.

"Part of this (formal sale and purchase) agreement required Mr Bassini to undertake certain actions to ensure the club could operate during the approval process," Bolton said in a statement here

“The principal undertakings given by Mr Bassini confirmed he would supply the short-term funding required to ensure the business can continue whilst the requirements of the EFL are undertaken.

“Despite further promises made to both the team manager and senior representatives of the squad, no funding has been made available to allow payment to the staff or players.”

The club said Bassini gave assurances that money would be transferred but that they had received nothing in the last 10 days, forcing current owner Ken Anderson to transfer funds so that Bolton could play Aston Villa last week.

Bassini had said on Friday that he could not pay the players until the EFL ratified the deal and blamed Anderson for delaying the sale.

“I don’t have control to pay them, I’m not allowed,” Bassini told Sky Sports. “The accounts are frozen. Ken Anderson doesn’t pay anyone. I’m going to pay them. That’s why I’ve transferred one million pounds ($1.29 million) so they get paid.

“Anderson was supposed to send across the shares certificate but he’s coming up with lots of excuses. He cannot put any ultimatums; he does not have any authority to do that.”

Bassini also promised the fans that he would not pull out of the deal.

“I want the Bolton fans to know I’m not giving up on you and staying with you guys,” he added. “It’s going to be fine everybody. This club is going to be safe and secure; I’m not going to let anything happen to it.”

($1 = 0.7742 pounds)

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Clare Fallon

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