We are sure that you have all heard the news over the last 48 hours regarding Macclesfield Town. Without delving too deep into the backstory, the situation played out as follows. Macclesfield Town were given a 17 point deduction which was an amalgamation of failing to pay players on time and also fulfil fixtures. They also suffered a 2 point deduction for the failure to operate with a valid safety certificate. This, along with the subsequent ‘points per game’ adjustment that was applied, meant that Macclesfield dropped 19 points and fell below Stevenage into the only relegation spot leading to their relegation to the National League.
Macclesfield Town appealed this decision as you can understand. The foundation of their appeal being that, because there is no start date confirmed for the commencement of the National League season for 2020/21, they are in breach of regulation 7.7A – Application for and Relegation from Membership. This is in conjunction with the following at the foot of the official club statement on their website (published 16.08.2020)
“In addition to this, we hope that the EFL Board will be making a statement regarding the news that has emerged today (Sunday) which suggests a fellow League Two member has been late or has not paid player wages for a substantial part of the 2019/20 season. It was alleged that the relevant Club has not been sanctioned for this – despite the EFL having knowledge of these Regulatory breaches”
We know that the club in question here, is Oldham Athletic, which is clearly a massive concern. We feel it’s important to acknowledge and investigate this matter further given everything that has gone on in the last few weeks/months.
Sky Sports News ran with a story on Sunday that related to the non-payment of wages to Oldham players for the last 4 months during furlough, as well as late payment of wages in January, February & March. We are unable to confirm the source and/or validity of these claims however, in order for Macclesfield to base a portion of their appeal around this and for the EFL to be discussing this, we would suggest that there is enough to at least have valid concerns. We have managed to find references that would support the above:
* BBC Radio Manchester Sport tweeted on 28.02.2020 that ‘payment of wages could be up to a week late’ but the club declined to comment
* BBC Radio Manchester also tweeted on 22.04.2020 ‘We understand the players yet to accept furlough are willing to agree, but first seek assurances from the club over payment of outstanding March salaries
* In the club statement dated 22.04.2020 it was stated ‘The Oldham Athletic players will be paid their full March salaries’ which indicates that at this stage, they were already 3 weeks late
* In the July 2020 Trust meeting (published 19.07.2020), it was stated by Abdallah that ‘remittance of funds from Dubai is subject to extensive bureaucracy, which can be subject to delays’
In our update on 24.07.2020 https://pushtheboundary.co.uk/ptb-update-24-07-2020 we raised the issue of ongoing player disputes that specifically related to a number of playing staff who didn’t accept furlough in March and we asked that the club address this issue with much needed urgency.
The EFL statement on Monday stated that the relegation of Macclesfield Town to the National League will be upheld. Although there wasn’t any mention in the EFL ruling of our situation, we wouldn’t necessarily expect this to be the case at this stage. This was not our appeal, after all.
As a result of these developments, Push The Boundary have contacted members of the press to try and obtain information that could be of interest to supporters. It is too early to speculate on what action may or may not be taken by the EFL in terms of ourselves, but we do remain concerned given the recent tough stance taken by the EFL over a number of financial issues at Macclesfield Town as well as Wigan Athletic, Charlton Athletic & Bury. We have contacted the club once again to try and speak to them regarding these issues and there has been encouraging discussions with the FSA about potential next steps. We will continue down this route and keep you updated of our progress.
We, as supporters, have continually been advised that the financial footing of the club is significantly better than it has been in recent years, but we yet again we find ourselves having to address issues which have found their way into the public domain.
When will these issues dissapear and what assurances are we being given by the club to put our minds at rest? We have, once again advised the club of the importance of keeping supporters up to date with matters that may influence decisions to buy season tickets (stadium purchases, North Stand issues, financial stability etc) as there is little question that this is having a direct impact on season ticket sales with the first ball being kicked in under 3 weeks time. In an ideal world we can just concentrate on matters on the pitch, rather than off it, but sadly feel we are some way from this point.
At the current time, with the league yet to start and no fans allowed in stadiums for the time being, we have to resort to being effective and applying pressure in different, more varied ways and rest assured we are doing this and will continue to do so. We thought it was important to provide an update for those who may not have been aware of these recent developments and advise supporters that this is something we are taking very seriously and trying to find more information on your behalf. We live in hope that this will come to nothing and we can continue our preparation for the upcoming season but it would be foolish to assume our problems disappear as a result.
We have seen some good (although much needed) additions to our first team squad but we wish to make it clear that there is a distinct separation between progress on the pitch and progress off it. Macclesfield and Bury are both perfect examples that success on the pitch doesn’t equate to stability and it’s this stability that we are asking for from the club. Yet again, we are asking for open and honest communication between the club and it’s fanbase, as this simply can’t continue in it’s current guise.
Reclaim The Faith
Steve, Danny, Adam & Will
Push The Boundary