Bolton players refuse to play pre-season friendly against Chester over pay dispute

General view of the Macron Stadium's exterior before the pre-season match in 2017
Image: Bolton were due to play Chester in a pre-season friendly on Friday

Bolton's pre-season friendly against Chester has been cancelled after players refused to play due to an ongoing dispute over unpaid wages.

Members of the Wanderers squad say they and the coaching staff have not been paid for 20 weeks, while they returned to pre-season to find their training facilities locked up.

Bolton have struggled with financial difficulties in recent seasons and the Sky Bet League One club entered administration in May after a takeover bid by former Watford chairman Laurence Bassini collapsed.

Administrators for the club announced a preferred buyer for the club at the start of July, Football Ventures, although the sale is yet to be agreed.

Wanderers were due to face Chester in a pre-season friendly on Friday but match was called off on Wednesday night after the Bolton players released a statement detailing their concerns about the club's financial situation.

A general view of Bolton Wanderers' Macron Stadium in 2018
Image: Bolton entered administration in May

"The players and coaching staff have not been paid by the club for 20 weeks and the administrators have not offered any financial assistance," read the joint-player statement.

"It is our understanding that there are sufficient funds to provide financial help immediately but there has been none.

Also See:

"As we have stated in a previous statement, all this has caused severe mental and emotional stress, affecting both our professional and personal lives, and this has now only increased.

"Certain individuals are in need of support and none has been forthcoming from the club. With the new season looming it is becoming almost impossible to prepare correctly for the challenge ahead.

"Contracted players and staff have returned to what they hoped would be a resolved situation and a fresh start for everyone.

"They have undertook their duties and obligations with diligence and professionalism but how long is it reasonable for us to do so without being paid?"

A general view of the University of Bolton Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Bolton and Norwich
Image: The club's players claim they have not been paid in 20 weeks

A subsequent statement released by joint administrator Paul Appleton expressed his sympathy for the players but claimed they did not have a "full understanding or appreciation of the club's ongoing financial position".

The statement read: "I have seen the statement released by the players today. While it is riddled with factual inaccuracies, their position is understandable and one with which I have a great deal of sympathy.

"The fact they have not been paid would appear to have had a major impact on their collective mindset. The ongoing situation has been continuously explained to them by Phil Parkinson. My team and I have been in dialogue with him since the first day of the Administration.

"We have also spoken to various agents, the PFA and the LMA to keep them apprised of the situation. As football creditors, Phil, his staff and the players will get paid in full once the deal has been completed.

"This is in contrast to other creditors, who will receive nothing approaching that level of compensation.

"Yes, the players have had to suffer hardship in terms of limited training facilities but decisions had to be taken in terms of finances and the need to prioritise payment of club staff was an overriding factor.

"And, with the greatest respect to the players, they do not have a full understanding or appreciation of the club's ongoing financial position. I am working within a budget to keep this club alive until a sale is completed."

Sky Sports Fantasy Football is Back

Sky Sports Fantasy Football is Back

FREE TO PLAY: Get your Head in the Game

Around Sky