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EFL to meet with Macclesfield players over threat to boycott Crewe game

The EFL is to meet with Macclesfield players to talk through the situation at the club and whether the Sky Bet League Two match against Crewe and potentially other fixtures can go ahead.

Last month, the Cheshire club were charged with misconduct by the EFL over their failure to pay players.

The first team had followed through on a strike threat during November, forcing Macclesfield to field youth team players in an FA Cup tie against Kingstonian, which they lost 4-0.

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On Thursday, a joint statement issued on behalf of Macclesfield players and staff said the Crewe game would not be going ahead as scheduled, although there has been no official confirmation the game is off.

“The EFL will meet the players of Macclesfield Town to discuss the current situation at the club, amid ongoing concern of the impact of late payments of wages on the health and wellbeing of those involved and their willingness to fulfil the club’s scheduled League Two fixture against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday 7 December and potentially other fixtures moving forward,” a statement from the EFL on Thursday afternoon read.

“The EFL notes today’s latest statement from the players at the club alongside the recent comments made by the majority shareholder Mr Alkadhi, and it is clear there are challenges to be overcome.

“The League has significant sympathy for the players and employees, who continue to feel the substantial impact of the continued financial challenges.”

Macclesfield Town’s Moss Rose ground

Macclesfield have been charged by the EFL over the non-payment of players (Richard Sellers/PA)

Non-fulfilment of the fixture would trigger another disciplinary breach for the League Two club, who already face a charge of misconduct regarding their failure to pay players.

On Wednesday, at a hearing in the specialist Insolvency and Companies Court in London, a judge heard former Macclesfield manager Sol Campbell wants the club to be wound up because debts have not been paid. The case was adjourned for two weeks.

Macclesfield have become the latest EFL club to experience financial difficulties, with Bury being expelled from the league in August and Bolton only surviving thanks to a last-ditch takeover.

The EFL statement added: “Since first being alerted to the financial challenges faced by the club, the EFL has worked tirelessly in an attempt to source an appropriate resolution, utilising central payments to ensure players and staff were paid whilst the owner has looked to find a sustainable longer term solution to the ongoing issues.

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“It remains the club’s obligation to find a way to deliver on the commitments it has made both in private and public to the current issues being faced.”

The EFL added all available support would continue to be provided and that it “fully understands the reasons for the position adopted by the players and their current concerns.”

However, the governing body said it must also “ensure the integrity of the League is maintained.”

Thursday’s EFL statement concluded: “Therefore, the club will be subject to a further misconduct charge under Regulation 31.2 for non-fulfilment of fixtures if Saturday’s match does not take place as scheduled.”

Earlier on Thursday, a joint statement issued on behalf of Macclesfield players and staff said the Crewe game would not be going ahead as scheduled.

It is understood the Professional Footballers’ Association is in constant discussions with Macclesfield’s players and the EFL over the matter.

“As a group, we’d like to inform the EFL and Crewe Alexandra Football Club that the game on Saturday won’t be taking place despite growing reports that is is ‘business as usual’,” the statement read.

“This is down to the fact that salaries have not been paid for last month.

“We have not trained as a squad since last Thursday due to the fact we have no training ground but, most importantly, the game can’t go ahead for the emotional and mental well-being of the players which is currently rock bottom.

“We hope that our own fans, who have been tremendous, Crewe fans and the whole of the football community can understand this decision with it being such an important month for us all on and off the pitch.”