Liga MX club Veracruz players set to go on strike, miss Friday's match against Tigres

Players from Liga MX's last-placed side Veracruz are vowing to boycott Friday's game against Tigres due to unpaid wages stretching back months, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

The Liga MX club is without a league win in 39 games and the ownership has had problems paying wages, leading the players to take action.

"Footballers from the Tiburones Rojos del Veracruz have agreed not to play the next fixture of the 2019 Apertura against Tigres, a decision supported emphatically by the Mexican Footballers Association (AMFproMX) and all the footballers in the domestic game in solidarity with the clear interference of their labor rights," read part of the statement released from AMFproMX on Wednesday.

Veracruz has had a number of issues on and off the field in recent years and paid a fine to be able to stay in Liga MX at the end of last season, after it had been relegated, with Mexico's first division set to increase to 20 teams.

The president of AMFproMX, Alvaro Ortiz, told reporters on Wednesday that some players were owed six months in wages; that workers at the club were sleeping on mats in the stadium and that some of the players' children had been kicked out of school due to lack of payments.

Ortiz added that the players felt abandoned by the Liga MX and that their human rights hadn't been respected.

"It's a question of solidarity, a question of helping those who need it most, of the dignity of the players," Ortiz told reporters. "We know other players in other clubs understand. This is a topic of solidarity, it's not a call for a [general league-wide] strike."

The AMFproMX president added that the Veracruz players don't want to talk to the Liga MX or FMF authorities, but to the other club owners directly to sort out the dispute.

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla traveled to Veracruz on Tuesday and the league has repeatedly asked players to come forward and make formal complaints about the situation, although it appears the players don't have watertight contracts with the club.

"The situation has come about because [the players] have one contract [registered] with the federation and another with the [Veracruz] administration, that's why our hands our tied in trying to help them," Bonilla said in a news conference on Tuesday.

Bonilla also alluded to "verbal agreements" between Veracruz and the players and reiterated that should the club not field a team on Friday, the Tiburones Rojos could be relegated.

"If the club doesn't play on Friday, the rule is clear: Any club that doesn't turn up is relegated automatically," said Bonilla on Tuesday. "We want to help [the players], but they have to help us as well."

The FMF announced Friday in a news conference that around $1 million would be made available as an emergency for players that file complaints and are found to be owed money. The debts would be covered only if players actually come forward, said De Luisa, who added that they have so far received two such complaints that will be investigated.

Liga MX president Bonilla said that he was hopeful that the Veracruz game will go ahead and that the club being removed from the league is an option moving forward.

Veracruz is currently rooted to the bottom of the Liga MX table, having picked up four points and scored seven goals over in 12 games so far this season.