Accrington chief Holt calls on governing bodies to offer more help to struggling clubs

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The football authorities need to “get their fingers out” and act to stop more clubs falling into distress, according to Accrington chairman Andy Holt.

Macclesfield’s players and staff contacted the EFL and the Professional Footballers’ Association on Thursday pleading for help after stating that their wages for the month had not been paid.

The letter said that employees of the League Two club hoped they could avoid finding themselves in a situation similar to Bury, whose league membership was withdrawn at the end of August because they could not provide sufficient guarantees of financial sustainability to the EFL.

Holt, who has spoken out many times on the governance of football, took to Twitter on Friday morning to call on the game’s administrators to do more to help struggling clubs.

“If there was an emergency @EFL vote to allow ‘step in’ powers in this instance it would have my 100 per cent support,” he wrote.

“This would involve a full financial review of the business model at clubs failing to pay wages and salaries. I’d be establishing the ability of the club to continue as a going concern and helping it through short-term difficulties in the event their model worked.

“This help would be in the way of shares, preference or otherwise, so that the regulator could oversee a club’s transfer to new ownership if there was no other viable option.

Bury's league membership was withdrawn in August over financial difficulties
Bury’s league membership was withdrawn in August over financial difficulties (Dave Howarth/PA)

“We should be funding the clean-up and taking responsibility for problems caused by us. We need to act NOW. We don’t need another long review.

“There is no need for @thesilkmen to drift on and on like @buryfcofficial and @OfficialBWFC did. Weeks on end of sending letters backwards and forwards is not the answer. @PFA loaning monies to players is not the answer. I want to see accountants from football authorities inside the club proactively working to establish viability NEXT WEEK.

“This is a good test for us: we know the outcome of failing to act in a timely fashion. Nothing we do can be worse than that. I’d be all over this like a rash NOW.

“We need to conduct new sustainability tests NOW, because the old one cannot be correct! Fingers out @EFL @premierleague @FA @PFA.”

The PFA is understood to be working with the EFL and Macclesfield staff over next steps, while the EFL said on Thursday night that it has “requested the club’s observations” in regard to the complaint over non-payment of wages.

Macclesfield have been approached for comment by the PA news agency but have yet to respond.

The EFL announced an extension to its existing governance review in September, with the first phase to focus on the circumstances surrounding Bury’s demise.

The second phase will look at whether its existing regulations are effective in ensuring the financial sustainability of EFL clubs.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee is also due to hold a hearing in the autumn looking at the Bury crisis, and the role of the EFL and the Football Association in safeguarding the long-term interests of clubs.

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