Bury expelled from league as Bolton given two weeks to secure future

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Bury has been expelled from the Football League, while Bolton Wanderers has been given 14 days to complete its takeover.

The English Football League (EFL) announced its decisions just after 11pm last night (August 27).

Both clubs had been given deadlines of 5pm yesterday  to conclude their respective takeovers.

However, shortly before the deadline analytics business C&N Sporting Risk announced that, following a period of due diligence, it was unable to proceed with its takeover of League One side Bury.

Owner Steve Dale confirmed three bids had been passed to the EFL, and said he remained hopeful Bury would be given a “reprieve to help get a deal over the line”.

But the EFL said: “Having fully considered all available options, including a number of late expressions of interest provided to the EFL, the EFL board has unanimously determined with enormous regret that Bury’s membership be withdrawn.

“The EFL board had maintained that there could be no further suspensions to the fixture list and that these ongoing concerns and the integrity of the competition were a significant factor in the decision.

“Recent events have highlighted how decisions taken at Bury FC over the last few seasons have caused the club and individuals close to it significant financial distress and there are a number of matters which, in our view, will require further investigation.”

Debbie Jevans, EFL executive chair, said: “Today is undoubtedly one of the darkest days in the League’s recent history.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted sympathy for Bury

 

“The EFL has worked determinedly and tirelessly to avoid this outcome and it is with a heavy heart that this situation has been forced upon us.

“The EFL has to place the integrity of our competitions at the heart of every decision we make, and we simply cannot allow this unacceptable situation to continue or countenance the prospect of postponing further fixtures.

“I understand this will be a deeply upsetting and devastating time for Bury’s players, staff, supporters and the wider community. There is no doubt today’s news will be felt across the entire football family.

“No-one wanted to be in this position, but following repeated missed deadlines, the suspension of five League fixtures, in addition to not receiving the evidence we required in regard to financial commitments and a possible takeover not materialising; the EFL board has been forced to take the most difficult of decisions.”

Meanwhile, the EFL has given Bolton Wanderers two weeks to either conclude a takeover, or prove the club has the financial resources to complete the 2019-20 season, or face the same fate as Bury.

On Saturday the protracted takeover by preferred bidder Football Ventures effectively collapsed due to the failure of all parties to sign it off.

The club failed to meet yesterday’s 5pm deadline to get the deal over the line, despite protracted negotiations since July 1.

Earlier the Trotters, in administration since May, said “discussions are ongoing with all parties”.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Bolton’s administrators warned that if a deal was not possible, they would begin closing down the club today, Wednesday, August 28, with a view to putting it into liquidation after declaring the club is not in a position to carry on trading.

In a statement issued just after 11pm last night, the EFL said it had lifted the suspension of the notice of withdrawal against the club, which now gives it until 12 noon on September 12 “to meet all outstanding requirements of the League’s insolvency policy”.

The statement said: “In respect of the situation at Bolton Wanderers, the administrators now have this period of time to successfully conclude a change of control with a preferred purchaser, or provide sufficient evidence that they are in a position to fund the club for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign.”

Debbie Jevans said: “Despite repeated assurances, we are extremely disappointed that we are still not in a position to reach a successful resolution with the sale of Bolton Wanderers and have therefore taken the decision to lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal. I again urge all parties to finalise the proposed takeover.

“The reality of this action is that there are now 14 days to secure the club’s long-term future, and I sincerely hope we can find a way through these challenging circumstances for the benefit of all those who have an association with the club.”

A statement issued on behalf of administrators David Rubin & Partners said: “We note the statement from the EFL lifting the notice of withdrawal of suspension and giving 14 days to find a solution and complete a deal for the sale of the club.

“All parties have been in continuous dialogue throughout the day and are working closely together this evening in order to bring a deal to completion. We will continue to work through the night if necessary.

“There will be a further update as soon as possible.”

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