Bolton’s home game against Millwall to go ahead

Bolton’s home game against Millwall on Saturday will go ahead after the club satisfied the local council they could meet their ground safety obligations.

The Sky Bet Championship fixture at the University of Bolton Stadium had been in doubt after the club failed to pay any staff their February wage, while they also owed money to Greater Manchester Police.

Part-time matchday staff, including safety stewards and turnstile operators, had considered not working on Saturday because of the issue, but Bolton chairman Ken Anderson has said all parties would be paid in time.

“Bolton Council has confirmed it will not be issuing a prohibition notice to Bolton Wanderers after the club confirmed it will meet its legal obligations under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975,” the council said in a statement.

Wanderers had been given just under 24 hours on Tuesday to assure the council that safety provisions would be in place during a meeting that was also attended by the emergency services and the police.

“The club was given 24 hours to address specific concerns about stewarding levels as well as emergency and medical response,” the council added.

“Bolton Wanderers have since provided thorough reassurances that it can meet the requirements set out in the stadium’s general safety certificate.

“The council is now confident that the club will be able to meet its safety obligations for upcoming home fixtures.”

Bolton, second bottom in the table and eight points from safety, have faced several winding-up petitions from HMRC in the past 16 months and are due back in the High Court again on March 20.

The club closed their training ground on Monday because of a lack of food and fuel and the players, most of whom had been given the day off, reported back for training on Tuesday.

Anderson said in a statement released earlier on Wednesday that he hoped to complete the sale of the club this week and would continue to finance them until a takeover was sealed.

“I have decided to continue to financially support the club until someone else comes in and have today told payroll to process the staff salaries and to pay any amounts due to the police and others to ensure that the Millwall fixture and future games go ahead,” Anderson said.

Anderson has in recent weeks come under increasing pressure from Bolton fans, who have protested in growing numbers at his running of the club.

He no longer attends matches on police advice and recently revealed he and his family had received abusive threats.

“Obviously, I am concerned, disappointed and deeply regret that I had to take the decision to delay paying the staff salaries on time last month, which is the first time this has happened during my ownership,” he said.

“(I) apologise unreservedly to all the staff and sincerely thank them for their continued support and patience, but it is difficult to accept putting a further £1million into a club that does not want you there and worse still it is not safe to even go to the club.”

Bolton announced on Sunday that an agreement in principle had been reached for Anderson to sell his shares in the club and that due diligence was under way.

In Wednesday’s statement, Anderson added: “I can confirm that discussions are ongoing with several parties and I am hopeful that completion will happen this week.”

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