Darlington placed under transfer embargo

Darlington Arena
Darlington attract an average of 1,836 fans to their 25,000-capacity stadium

Darlington have been placed under a transfer embargo by the Football Conference, BBC Tees has learned.

The terms of the embargo, issued 12 days ago, mean the Quakers cannot sign or register personnel to the team.

Chairman Raj Singh and several players are currently in negotiations regarding wages, with some members of the squad claiming they have not been paid.

Singh has been in talks with the Professional Footballers' Association to try to resolve the situation.

Both parties met with the PFA to discuss the issue.

"I wasn't party to the meeting, because I had to nip off to take the youth team," caretaker manager Craig Liddle told BBC Tees.

"What's been said by the players and the officials at the club is that there was a lot of positivity coming out of it.

"We'll have to see how that pans out over the next few weeks."

Football Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick said: "Our role is to try to ensure clubs are sustainable. That's why we have a number of financial practices in place.

"We wouldn't normally discuss a club's business, but it's in the public domain that some of the players haven't been paid all their wages.

"So what we try to do is find out what is happening, why this is the case and hopefully facilitate payment in accordance with the players' contacts.

"The bottom line is, we wouldn't wish a club to increase its wage bill when it's not affording the one it's currently got.

"We're looking after the club, because we don't want it to shoot itself in the foot, and we're looking after the players because they have contracts, so we're looking for compliance with those contracts."

The Conference is hopeful of coming to agreement between Darlington, the players and the PFA, although penalties could be imposed if this is not the case.

"Ultimately we have a rule that a club must pay it's football creditors, not doing that is a breach of the rule," Strudwick continued.

"Players' wages are considered football creditors, so we will be looking at that rule, and possibly looking at charging the club for failing to pay its football creditors.

"The board is empowered to make whatever decision it wishes. All decisions made throughout the process will be reasonable."

Darlington won last season's FA Trophy, but are already out of that competition this season, lost in the first round of the FA Cup and lie 13th in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Singh revealed in he was considering a departure from the club in November after attempts to secure a deal to acquire the stadium land from owners Graham Sizer and Phillip Scott stalled.

In addition, talks with the council to aid the purchase of that land - and remove covenants that limit its useage - have also reached deadlock.

A mixed start to the Blue Square Bet Premier season led to the departure of boss Mark Cooper in October, leaving interim boss Liddle to run both first-team and youth development squads.

Players were criticised by the chairman for the club's poor form, who demanded that the squad took pay-cuts to ease the financial burden.

John Campbell, James Walshaw, Exodus Geohaghon, Adam Quinn and Greg Taylor have moved out on loan.

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