Bolton hit by IT failure to leave Ipswich fixture in doubt

Bolton have announced their home game against Ipswich on Saturday is in doubt because of a “critical” IT failure.

The troubled Sky Bet Championship club had been placed under a prohibition notice by the region’s safety advisory group (SAG) due to concerns over fans’ safety, but that was lifted on Thursday before this latest setback.

“Due to a critical failure of the stadium’s IT system, Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship match against Ipswich Town at the University of Bolton Stadium is in doubt,” read a statement on the club’s official website.

Bolton's clash with Ipswich at the University of Bolton Stadium is in doubt
Bolton’s clash with Ipswich at the University of Bolton Stadium is in doubt (Dave Howarth/PA)

“Engineers will be working through the night to resolve this issue and the club will provide an update at the earliest available opportunity.”

SAG, comprised of representatives of the local council, police and emergency services, lifted their notice after Bolton managed to “reassure” them over safety issues.

Bolton were given the go-ahead to stage matches at the University of Bolton Stadium until the end of the season, but Saturday’s game could now fall victim to technical problems.

The club’s home match against Millwall last month was placed in doubt due to safety concerns after staff, including stewards and turnstile operators, were not paid their February wages on time, but the game did go ahead.

Bolton are desperately seeking to complete a club takeover in time to fend off a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill.

They were granted a further stay of execution by the High Court on Wednesday when controversial former Watford chairman Laurence Bassini was confirmed as the club’s prospective buyer.

Bolton had been given two weeks to settle their debts at an initial hearing on March 20, but on Wednesday the case was adjourned again until May 8 to allow the proposed sale of the club to proceed.

This is the sixth time in the last 18 months that Bolton have faced a winding-up order, which could result in administration or liquidation. The latest one was issued in February by HMRC over debts of £1.2million.

Bolton fans have protested against chairman Ken Anderson
Bolton fans have protested against chairman Ken Anderson (Martin Rickett/PA)

The club’s barrister Hilary Stonefrost told the court on Wednesday that Bassini, who attended the hearing, “had proof of funds”.

Bassini’s controversial tenure at Vicarage Road lasted only 13 months.

The 48-year-old has twice been declared bankrupt and was banned from holding a position of authority at an English Football League club for three years in 2013 for alleged financial misconduct while at Watford.

Bolton’s players meanwhile, have called upon the Professional Footballers’ Association and the English Football League to intervene over their unpaid wages for last month.

The squad has returned to training after refusing to do so while non-playing staff were waiting to be paid.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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