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Morecambe FC at risk of points deduction over financial failings following late payment of wages

Morecambe FC and the owner of the club have been charged after financial failings following late payment of wages last season.

The charges by the English Football League (EFL) relate to the club’s late payment of wages last season.

Back in August, Morecambe FC received a suspended three-point deduction after the club’s wages were paid late in March.

Read more: Morecambe FC board issue stark ultimatum to owner over sale of club

The penalty was suspended until June 30, 2024 after the Shrimps admitted a breach of EFL Regulations for failing to pay its player wages on or around March 28, 2023.

The wage bill was ultimately met three days later, following the purchase of shares for an undisclosed six figure sum by prospective new owners, Sarb Capital.

In addition to the suspended points deduction, and as part of what is known as an ‘Agreed Decision’, Morecambe’s owner was also required to deposit an amount equal to 125% of the forecast monthly wage bill - for all staff across the football club - in a designated account, which may be called upon should there be any future delays in processing wage payments in future months.

There was a warning that failure to do this, or of the wage bill is met last again at any point until the end of June next year, would result in the three-point penalty sanction being enforced.

Those funds were initially deposited in line with the Agreed Decision.

But, it has now been revealed that consequently, they were withdrawn again, and not replaced.

Therefore, one charge has been brought against the club and two charges brought against the club's owner, in relation to a failure in September to replenish these funds into a deposit account.

A statement from the EFL said: ‘’Morecambe Football Club and owner Mr Jason Whittingham have been charged under EFL Regulations for failing to adhere to the terms of an Agreed Decision, which required a financial deposit equating to 125% of the Club’s monthly turnover to be placed in a separate club account to facilitate the ongoing payment of Club wages.

‘’In August, funds were deposited in line with the agreement for a previous failure to pay the Club’s wage bill, however on September 4, those funds were used and Whittingham failed to re-deposit the amount, despite requests from the League.

‘’Mr Whittingham’s failure to re-deposit the funds has led to personal charges, while the Club has also been charged for failing to meet deposit account requirements.

‘’The charges will now be considered by an independent Disciplinary Commission with the outcome to be communicated by the EFL once a decision is reached.’’

A statement, attributed to the Board of Directors of Morecambe Football Club, said:

‘’These are misconduct charges that have been referred by the EFL to an independent disciplinary commission to take place in the New Year. Bond Group have therefore instructed specialist sports lawyers to defend the Club's and the Owner's position at that commission.

‘’The Board remains focused on the priority of ensuring that Morecambe Football Club meets all its obligations, which means working with Bond Group to prevent cashflow issues and doing everything within its powers to expedite the process of finding new ownership as quickly as possible.’’

The Shrimps are currently eighth in League Two, one point outside the play off positions.

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