Silkmen scrap offer for fan to pay £20,000 to play for 10 minutes

 

Macclesfield have withdrawn their offer to allow a member of public to play for the club in a competitive fixture in return for payment.

The extraordinary idea, aimed at raising the cash-strapped club £20,000, was revealed in the local newspaper.

Macclesfield are attempting to raise £100,000 by the end of August to keep them in business, but following national media interest the club's offer to allow someone to register with the Football Association and appear for the last 10 minutes in a Blue Square Bet Premier game or cup clash has been scrapped.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Macclesfield Town acted quickly (on Wednesday) evening to withdraw its offer to give someone a chance to appear for the club in a competitive game in return for payment.

"The 'pay-to-play' proposal was one of many innovative ideas that have been considered in the last few weeks to raise both funds and interest in the club.

"It was intended to be a light-hearted idea that would be of interest only to our local media.

"We now recognise that, whatever controls are put in place, it creates a possibility of altering the outcome of a competitive fixture and as such, clearly crosses an important line with respect to the integrity of the game.

"We are therefore withdrawing the offer and would like to apologise unreservedly to the football authorities and to the Football Conference for our error of judgement in this matter."

The club was forced to sell the freehold to its Moss Rose ground last week to Cheshire East Council to prevent them going into administration.

Fans have since been encouraged to buy shares and become involved in the running of the club, but it was revealed last week that they needed to raise £50,000 in each of the next two months to preserve their full-time professional status.

Macclesfield, promoted to the Football League for the first time in the club's history in 1997, were relegated to the Blue Squre Bet Premier in 2012, ending a 15-year stay in the league.

They reached the old Second Division in 1998 where they played north-west rivals Manchester City, Preston and Wigan, but were relegated after just one season.

PA

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