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English club withdraws novel pay-to-play scheme
A cash-strapped lower league English football club devised a novel but short-lived way of raising some much-needed cash by launching a pay-to-play scheme.
Macclesfield, from England's fifth tier, advertised the bizarre proposition in their local newspaper - and had already received two inquiries by the time they had decided to retract the offer hours later.
The club released a statement on their website on Thursday saying they had withdrawn the scheme due to enormous media interest.
Macclesfield's associate director Andy Scott told Britain's Press Association: "On reflection we were concerned league authorities might take a dim view of it.
"We never intended to cause such a furore.
"We've thought of every possible marketing initiative and went with this as a genuine, no-nonsense attempt to raise cash for the club.
"We initially didn't think it would make the Macclesfield Express let alone go global.
"We thought it might sneak on the inside back page of the Macclesfield Express, but it's gone from that to 1.4 million tweets and, I'm told, 1.8 million hits on Google.
"My mate in Australia rang me to tell me it was on Channel Nine News.
"And an American company have also been in touch because they wanted to do a documentary on it.
"I'm shocked at how the story has mushroomed, but if it has the unintentional impact of bringing attention to the football club's plight, it might make people locally put their hands in their pocket to help the club survive.
"That's really what this is all about, the survival of Macclesfield Football Club."
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