EFL bosses reject MP’s ‘stay of execution’ plea for Bury FC

James Frith MP

Football League bosses have dismissed pleas to extend this Friday’s deadline for Bury FC to provide evidence of financial security or face expulsion.

Bury North MP James Frith today (August 20) appealed to the English Football League to allow further time for the League One side to secure a sale by current owner Steven Dale, and financial security.

However, this evening the EFL reiterated it will expel Bury if it cannot meet the Friday deadline, resulting in the 134-year-old club losing its league status.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported tonight that Mr Dale is understood to have turned down a new offer for the club.

They said the deal could have secured the survival of Bury FC, but Mr Dale believes he can get a better offer.

Explaining the expulsion process, the league said Bury would be free to apply for league membership next season, further down the football pyramid.

EFL bosses also confirmed that Bury’s forthcoming game on Saturday against Tranmere Rovers has been suspended, and the club has been kicked out of the Carabao Cup, with its opponents, Sheffield Wednesday, awarded the Round One tie.

The EFL statement tonight said: “The EFL board continues to be frustrated at the lack of significant progress that has been made by Mr Dale in providing the information required.

“However, we will continue to work with the current ownership in an attempt to achieve a resolution ahead of the Notice of Withdrawal deadline of Friday 23 August.

“It remains in regular communication with Mr Dale, but if a solution is not found by the deadline, the board will authorise the necessary share transfer on behalf of Bury FC which shall be legally binding on all parties and result, regretfully, in the club no longer being a member of the League.

“Should this happen, Bury’s record from the 2019/20 season would be expunged with League One consisting of 23 clubs for the remainder of the campaign and the number of relegation places reduced to three at the conclusion of 2019/20 season.

“Four promotion places would remain from League Two ensuring a full complement of 24 teams in League One in 2020/21.

“Bury would then be free to make an application to the Football Association to re-join league competition further down the English football pyramid from season 2020/21.”

Earlier today Mr Frith published a letter he had sent to EFL chair Debbie Jevons calling for a stay of execution for the club.

He wrote: “I am asking in the strongest and most humblest of terms that you and the EFL board grant the club and our wider community efforts for sale, a further extension from Friday 23rd August should no sale be achieved before then.

“Suspending the expulsion order, in effect, will allow for suitable, credible and sustainable alternative ownership to be sought.”

He stressed the historical importance of the club to the town and its community: “Our club has been part of the consciousnesses and identity of our town for an almost unprecedented 134 years. It is part of our town’s cultural capital and history. All this is set to be destroyed, but we can, and must resist.”

He concluded: “I urge you to ensure Bury is not sacrificed on the altar of example nor can it be a sleepwalking victim of the wider issue where an absence of timely due diligence and toxic intent means the loss of a club that matters so dearly to so many.”