By Rik Sharma
(Reuters) – Players at Spanish second division team Reus plan to leave the financially-troubled outfit after Saturday’s game with Cordoba, leaving the club on the brink of being removed from the league.
The Catalans, based about 100km south-west of Barcelona, have not paid the players for three months and have debts of five million euros (£4.50 million), said local media reports.
“We’ve decided to take up our right (to leave) because we believe the situation is already unsustainable,” said captain Dani Olmo on Friday, reading a statement from the players.
The players are free to find other clubs if they are not paid by Monday and if Reus, who have 16 professionals, do not have 12 in their squad they will be excluded from the league.
Future opponents will be given three points and previous results will stand if the club is dropped from the league.
If the club do not pay the players’ wages they will still be paid for the season by the Spanish league as part of a deal with the players’ association but that won’t stop them leaving.
They say the club should pay them and the league deal does not cover employees such as the coaches and medical staff.
“La Liga promised to pay us (if we stayed) but we knew the club would go into administration at the end of the season. The squad believes that a partial solution would turn the dressing room into hell and would prolong the agony,” added Olmo.
“In August we agreed to do everything on our part to get to January alive, we had the promise from the club that the situation would be resolved. But it was not possible to resolve the situation.”
The club declined to comment on the players’ statement.
Reus, founded in 1909, are 20th in Spain’s second tier, which features 22 teams.
“We should tackle the game (against Cordoba) as normally as possible and try to focus on the tough competition, thinking that a win can get us out of the relegation zone,” coach Xavi Bartolo said on Friday, hoping the club could yet be saved.
“Unlike a few weeks ago I am seeing in the faces and gestures of the directors the sense that the situation can be solved, I don’t know if totally or partially,” he told a news conference.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma in Madrid; Editing by Ken Ferris)