Bolton Wanderers v Brentford called off by EFL with wages still owed to Bolton players

Bolton Wanderers have lost their past five games in a row

Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Championship on 19 April

Bolton’s game against Brentford on Saturday has been called off by the English Football League after Bolton’s players said they would not play until they receive the wages they are owed.

The match was called off 16 hours before it was scheduled to kick off.

None of the March wages owed to the Wanderers’ players have been paid.

“As a result of these disappointing developments, the league has been forced to suspend Saturday’s fixture,” an EFL statement said.

“The club [Bolton] is now deemed to be guilty of misconduct and will be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.

“The EFL Board will now consider the matter of determining whether the fixture will be played or not.”

In a club statement, Bolton said they “would like to apologise for the inconvenience this will cause”.

Brentford’s squad travelled north from London on Friday in preparation for the Championship game, which was due to be played at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Bolton’s relegation to League One was confirmed on 19 April when they lost to Aston Villa.

Players’ decision ‘not taken lightly’

Earlier on Friday, Wanderers’ squad had issued a joint statement, saying the financial situation was “creating mental, emotional and financial burdens for people through no fault of their own”.

They added that it was “placing great strain on ourselves and our families”.

The players also apologised to supporters for what “may be seen as drastic action” but stressed the decision had “not been taken lightly” and that they had taken the stance “with deep regret”.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) said on Friday afternoon that it supported the players’ actions, adding they had shown “great patience and loyalty” to the club, but had “reached a point where action is necessary”.

“The PFA has been working with the club since the beginning of the season and we have done all we can to resolve this issue, including giving Bolton Wanderers a substantial loan to cover players’ salaries in December,” the statement added.

Earlier this month, Bolton’s players refused to train for 48 hours in support of club staff after March wages went unpaid. Full-time non-playing staff eventually received their March wages after a delay.

On Friday night – before the EFL called the game off – prospective new owner Laurence Bassini had said he would work to ensure Saturday’s fixture went ahead.

He told Sky Sports News that the players’ wages would be paid and that he would speak to the EFL in an attempt to find a resolution.