Leyton Orient players and staff still awaiting payment, seek assurances
Leyton Orient's players and staff are seeking assurances from the club's directors that they will be paid this month after releasing a statement confirming they have yet to receive their wages for March.
League Two's bottom club are in turmoil and relegation could be confirmed on Saturday, which would bring an end to a 112-year stay in the Football League.
Orient are on their fifth manager of the season in Omer Riza, have faced a winding-up petition -- adjourned last month -- and controversial Italian owner Francesco Becchetti has gone AWOL having enraged fans with a string of decisions and comments.
Club staff have now spoken out to express their concerns at Becchetti's absence and to reveal the seriousness of the financial situation at the club.
A statement read: "As staff of Leyton Orient Football Club we have become hugely concerned by the lack of communication issued by owner Francesco Becchetti and its directors.
"Having not received our wages for the month of March 2017, staff were told to expect payment on April 6 due to an issue regarding the club's bank account. However, on the eve of the date promised, staff were informed that they would have to wait a 'few days more' for their wages.
"Following this a formal grievance was raised by club staff in line with the club's policies and procedures, though to this date it remains unacknowledged with no indication as to when, or if, we are to be paid.
"Despite their concern, club staff have continued in their respective roles, rallying behind the team in their bid to preserve Leyton Orient's proud English Football League association.
"At the time of this statement we are now in the 19th day of April, and with our next payment of wages due in nine days' time, we appeal to the club's directors to communicate the current situation and provide us with an update regarding our pay.
"As reported last week, the playing staff were supported by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), who kindly loaned a percentage of each individual's monthly salary to help them through this difficult time.
"This has been greatly appreciated, however the players now have a debt hanging over their heads of which they remain unsure as to when, or even if, they can repay the amount given to them.
"The winding-up order issued at the start of March saw the club taken to the High Court, and on March 20 it was claimed that the amount of £1 million is to be put into the club to ensure all debts that have been generated over recent months would be paid in full by June 12 when the club are next due to appear in court.
"With debts continuing to mount and us as staff not being paid our contractual wage, it raises questions as to whether the directors are on course to meet this arrangement.
"Staff look forward to some welcome communication from the club's directors which we hope can answer our growing concerns."
A 2-1 win against fellow League Two strugglers Hartlepool on Monday leaves Orient seven points adrift of safety with three games of the season remaining.
Eight of their starting lineup for that game were under 20, with the club heavily relying on youth-team players for the latter part of the season.
Relegation will be confirmed if they lose to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.