Bolton Wanderers: EFL says club must fulfil fixtures after Brentford game postponed

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Bolton Wanderers have been charged with misconduct by the EFL for failing to fulfil their fixture with Brentford on Saturday

Bolton Wanderers have been told that they must complete their two remaining Championship fixtures this season by the English Football League Board.

The EFL called off Saturday's match with Brentford after Bolton's players said they would not play until they received outstanding wages.

Bolton have been told to rearrange that game "at the earliest opportunity".

An EFL statement said the "ownership difficulties" at the relegated club "remain a significant concern".

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has agreed a deal to take over the club from Ken Anderson, which remains subject to EFL approval.

When it was announced on 17 April, Bolton said "significant funds" would be made available to pay outstanding wages and a number of long-term creditors.

However, a club statement on Saturday said Anderson is receiving "independent advice from his professional advisors" regarding the takeover, with claims that Bassini had promised to "arrange payment for players and coaching staff" and had "failed to make the funds available".

In his own statement, Anderson said that he was giving Bassini "until close of play on Monday to complete the outstanding matters" and that "the ball is now firmly in Mr Bassini's court".

"Unfortunately, we never really know what Mr Bassini's true intentions are," he added.

Before the Brentford postponement, Bassini told Sky Sports News that he would pay the players and had transferred £1m to settle the bill so that the game could go ahead, but he "did not have control" to pay them and he was still awaiting a share certificate from Anderson.

The EFL statement added: "We will look to work with both parties over the next week to bring all outstanding matters to a speedy conclusion.

"It should be recognised that the resolution is not in our hands but we will assist where possible, with the long-term interests of Bolton Wanderers and its supporters our priority."

Wanderers' players and members of the coaching staff are still awaiting wage payments for March and this month's salaries are due on Tuesday.

On Friday, the first-team squad 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".

In their statement on Saturday morning, the EFL said it was "satisfied that a team can be selected from the players they have registered and available to them" for their remaining two league fixtures, even if first-team players do not make themselves available for selection.

The EFL would have forced Bolton to play Saturday's fixture had their under-18 team not been involved in a match on Thursday, bringing concerns about "potential player welfare issues".

The EFL statement read: "This same issue will not reoccur as the club is able to plan the players' preparation and recovery time accordingly."

BBC Sport understands the Professional Footballers' Association believes it is up to the EFL to reach a solution that protects the integrity of the Championship - but that it is not keen on the idea of youth-team players being used en-masse to fulfil Bolton's remaining games.

Bolton, whose final fixture of the season is away at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, 5 May, have been charged with misconduct and will be referred to an independent disciplinary commission as a result of the Brentford fixture being postponed.

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