Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Santander players threaten to strike

Reuters, MADRID

Real Racing Club de Santander’s Francis, left, battles for the ball with Real Sociedad’s Haris Seferovic in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg at the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastian, Spain, on Wednesday last week.

Photo: AFP

Players from Spanish third-tier side Real Racing Club de Santander have threatened to boycott tomorrow’s Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg at home to Real Sociedad unless president Angel Lavin and his board step down.

“As has been reported in the media, we are owed wages going back several months despite repeated promises by the president they would be paid,” Santander captain Mario Fernandez said in a statement read out to reporters on Monday.

“The lack of an adequate response from the board, the worsening financial situation in which we find ourselves... have led to an unanimous decision by the squad to demand the immediate resignation of the president and the board,” he added.

There was no immediate official response from the club to the players’ ultimatum.

Santander, who are 3-1 down from last week’s first leg in San Sebastian, have fallen on desperately hard times since they were taken over in January 2011 by Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed, who pledged a bright future for the club on the north coast.

Founder and chairman of investment company Western Gulf Advisory, Ali Syed said Santander could become a “third force” in Spain to challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona.

However, they were relegated from La Liga at the end of the 2011-2012 season after finishing 10 points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Ali Syed disappeared from view and the club’s crisis deepened as they dropped down to the third tier (Segunda B) at the end of last season.

The future looked bleak after a capital increase in October last year designed to save them from ruin flopped and had to be abandoned, and they remain mired in bankruptcy proceedings.

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