BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet [CARD] have announced they will launch a fresh demonstration aimed at Charlton Athletic’s owner – with the Belgian’s refusal to pay bonuses to club staff the latest flashpoint.
And CARD say they will back workers who decide to take their own action, even if it puts Saturday’s home game against Fleetwood Town at risk.
Charlton caretaker manager Lee Bowyer has already had his playing budget heavily cut, with other measures taken around both The Valley and the training ground to try and stem losses.
Duchatelet issued an email to staff earlier today blaming the poor financial results as a factor in not paying bonuses, which are not contractual.
CARD said: “Following confirmation today of the Charlton Athletic board’s continued refusal to meet its formal obligations to its own employees on pay and rewards, the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD) is calling on all Addicks fans to demonstrate at The Valley this weekend.
“The deteriorating situation at the club – described yesterday by Greenwich and Woolwich MP Matthew Pennycook as “utterly shambolic” – has been allowed to go on for too long and the extent of damage now being done to our club is heartbreaking.
“It cannot be acceptable that staff are made the latest victims of a petty cost-cutting agenda that can have no realistic impact on the club’s viability or prospects of sale.
“CARD believes that this is the moment when fans must act collectively to force the intervention of the EFL in the running of Charlton, which is impacting on the reputation of the league as well as that of the club itself. The club has no permanent team manager, no chief executive, no chief financial officer and no chairman, a situation which has gone on for many months. Duchatelet has not attended a game for nearly four years.
“The only other director, Richard Murray, has been a nodding dog throughout. How can this situation be acceptable to the EFL? Despite the tremendous efforts of caretaker boss Lee Bowyer and coach Johnnie Jackson, it is clear that the first-team squad is now inadequate numerically, as proven by Lee’s inability to fill the bench at the start of the season and fielding of an U23 team in the Carabao Cup.
“We are suspending our boycott call for Saturday’s home match with Fleetwood Town and asking as many supporters as possible to join a demonstration to show their solidarity with the staff and the extent of their concern about the wider situation.
“CARD will fully support any action taken by the staff in pursuit of their grievance, including if it leads to the postponement of Saturday’s match, because we believe that would be a proportionate outcome to the years-long betrayal of staff and supporters alike.
“Whether or not they intend to go in to the game, we are asking fans to assemble by 2.15pm outside main reception in the west stand car park or as near to it as possible on the day for a major demonstration.
“Thousands of supporters have already stopped attending matches. CARD believes this is the time for Charlton fans to stand up for their club – before there is nothing left to get behind.”
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