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The Swiss professional footballers' association SAFP announced that Neuchâtel Xamax has not paid its players' wages for the month of September. The club now faces a genuine and serious risk of bankruptcy.

 

Lucien Valloni, president of the SAFP, explains: 'This is a totally unacceptable situation which proves that the Swiss Football League's licence system fails to sufficiently protect the interests of professional players.'

 

'The most important thing now is to consider the players' futures and to try to ensure that the current championship remains or becomes as attractive as possible until its completion.'

 

'If the club does indeed go into liquidation, the SAFP players' association therefore plans to form a SAFP team from those players released by Neuchâtel Xamax and other out-of-contract players and to complete the championship with this team. The SAFP will also endeavour to retain the club's existing technical staff or to employ the services of out-of-work coaches from within Switzerland to manage the team.'

 

'This will mean that the championship can be completed with 10 teams and will allow those players released by the club to continue playing in the hope of securing new contracts elsewhere.'

 

'The SAFP has substantial experience in dealing with out-of-contract players. Each summer for the last seven years, the SAFP has formed a team of out-of-contract players, enabling them to train in a professional environment. Every year, this team participates in the FIFPro tournament, playing against teams from other unions across Europe. The SAFP team finished in second place this year.'

 

'It goes without saying, however, that the SAFP cannot pay the players' wages. These will continue to be covered by unemployment insurance.'

 

'Discussions will need to be held with the city of Neuchâtel to ascertain whether the SAFP team can use the club's stadium and training facilities until the end of the season. If this is not possible for financial reasons, the SAFP will cover basic costs for away matches and will share gate receipts with a host club for home matches.'

 

'The SAFP professional players' association therefore calls upon all clubs to ensure that they have sufficient funds in place at the start of each season, by way of a bank guarantee that can be accessed in situations such as this, to pay their players' wages. This is the only way that situations such as that facing Neuchâtel Xamax may be avoided in the future.'