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Next 2 Bolton matches under threat due to safety concerns

Bolton Wanderers' next two Championship home games against Ipswich and Middlesbrough are in doubt after they were issued with an order preventing fans entering the ground.

The area's Safety Advisory Group met on Tuesday and said it "was not prepared to put the public at risk".

Players went on strike on Monday after staff were not paid on time for the second month in a row.

The EFL said they hoped the fixtures would take place as planned. 

One option could be to play the matches behind closed doors.

"We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue," an EFL statement said. 

Bolton, who are up for sale and battling relegation, said they would be unable to meet the obligations of their safety certificate until after Wednesday's High Court appearance over unpaid debts.

Staff will not be paid their March wages until Wednesday at the earliest, with owner Ken Anderson claiming talks are ongoing with buyers.

SAG members agreed it "would be a challenging timeframe" to put an "adequate operation in place to protect the safety of spectators" for the games against Ipswich on Saturday and Boro next Tuesday.

"We recognise that Bolton Wanderers is at the heart of our community and this is a deeply regrettable situation," a spokesperson for SAG said.

"We have done everything we can over recent weeks to support the club at this difficult time.

"Every effort has been made to give the club enough time to put adequate matchday operation standards in place, but regrettably the law gives us no alternative but to issue a prohibition notice.

"Safety and security remain our primary concern and while we recognise that spectators may be disappointed, we are not prepared to put the public at risk."

It is the second time in as many months the SAG has highlighted concerns over safety at the University of Bolton stadium, with the game against Millwall on 9 March eventually given the green light to go ahead three days before.

JC

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