Leyton Orient ask for EFL intervention over unpaid wages

Telegraph Sport
The Telegraph

Leyton Orient's players and staff have called on the game's authorities to intervene "without delay" over the club's failure to meet last month's payroll.

The London club is in turmoil on and off the field as relegation from the English Football League was confirmed on Saturday, while controversial Italian owner Francesco Becchetti and his directors appear to be in hiding.

The O's staff and players released a statement last week seeking assurances they will be paid this month and have now urged the EFL and Football Association to take immediate action after the club's failure to respond.

"Further to our previous statement dated April 19, where we appealed to the club's board of directors, we have been met with a wall of silence," read the latest statement.

"Chief operating officer Vito Miceli had no answers to questions posed by a Waltham Forest Guardian journalist following Saturday's fixture in which the club's relegation was confirmed.

"We are now on the 24th day of the month and are yet to receive a payment of wages for March, with April due in only four days' time.

<span> Leyton Orient president Francesco Becchetti</span> <span>Credit: PA </span>
Leyton Orient president Francesco Becchetti Credit: PA

"We are extremely concerned about the ongoing situation given the effect of non-payment of mortgages and rent are already resulting in staff having to relocate.

"Due to this we appeal to the English Football League (EFL) and the Football Association to intervene on our behalf as the regulatory bodies in the sport and demand substantive answers from the club's board."

The club survived a winding-up order last month over unpaid taxes, reported to be £250,000, with Becchetti given until June 12 by the High Court to pay off debts or sell up.

O's boss Omer Riza, who has demanded a meeting with Becchetti this week, admitted after Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Crewe that his players had been left demoralised by not being paid.

That loss confirmed the club's relegation and ended their 112-year stay in the Football League. 

The statement added: "It was previously reported that the EFL met with directors of the club in March where the club's plans until the end of the season were outlined and financial reassurances were given.

"Having failed to have these plans communicated to us as staff, or even see evidence of such plans during the intervening weeks, it reinforces our grave concern regarding the financial stability of the club or its ability to pay outstanding debts.

"With two weeks of the season left before we fall out of the remit of the EFL, we call on you to act immediately and without delay on our behalf.

"With the growing mismanagement of football clubs in general we feel your intervention is essential in order to safeguard ourselves, as well as other clubs who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future."

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