Cash-strapped side Bolton Wanderers, whose match against Brentford originally scheduled for last Saturday was postponed 16 hours before kickoff when players refused to take the field over unpaid wages, has seen the match officially abandoned, and the EFL has opened disciplinary proceedings against the club.
The club has been in a dire situation all season, having avoided administration back in September at the buzzer thanks to a last-minute deal to repay a loan. An ownership change fell through just days ago, with current chairman Ken Anderson seeing a self-imposed deadline passed for prospective buyer Laurence Bassini to provide prove of his financial capital.
Now, with players publicly refusing to play after failing to receive their wages for March or April, play on the field has been affected. Saturday’s match was postponed with the first-team squad refusing to play, and while the match was originally rescheduled for next Tuesday – two days after the end of the season – but adequate security personnel could not be confirmed with staff also going unpaid, so the EFL has called off the fixture and opened proceedings against the club. The cancellation of the match results in an automatic 1-0 victory for Brentford.
“Following the decision taken by Bolton Wanderers’ Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to issue a prohibition notice preventing Tuesday’s rearranged fixture with Brentford from taking place, the EFL will not be asking that the game is played at a future date,” the English Football League said in a statement. “There is no provision under EFL regulations to direct clubs to play at a later date than four days past the conclusion of the season and, as a result, it has been determined that Brentford will be awarded the three points on the basis of a 1-0 victory.
“As a consequence, Bolton Wanderers is now deemed to be guilty of misconduct by the EFL which will result in disciplinary proceedings against the club being taken at an appropriate time.”
The club announced it will go ahead with the final match of the season on Saturday against Nottingham Forest, with the PFA handing the club a second loan to allow the players to finish the season. The PFA confirmed last week that the organization had quietly loaned the club money in December to pay player wages, but the situation has not improved.
Bolton is already confirmed to have been relegated from the Championship. They played in the Premier League as recently as 2011.