Rochdale FC takeover collapses as EFL launches probe

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A takeover of Rochdale Football Club has collapsed after the English Football League (EFL) launched an investigation.

London-based Morton House MGT is behind the bid for the Lancashire side, which was relegated to League Two last season.

However, in July, The Dale Supporters’ Trust raised concerns about the proposed deal, which resulted in an EFL statement, saying: “The EFL is still to receive any evidence of the source and sufficiency of funding on behalf of any potential purchaser.”

Now, the EFL has stepped in amid claims the club had been acquired without adhering to league regulations.

Morton House MGT said it will now sell its shareholding in the club at the earliest possible opportunity, and stated that it will not cooperate with the EFL’s probe.

The EFL issued a statement, saying: “On 16 August 2021, in accordance with its Regulations, the EFL issued notice to multiple individuals of the commencement of disciplinary investigations in respect to the acquisition of shares in Rochdale Association Football Club.

“It is alleged that Morton House MGT acquired Control of the Club, and a number of individuals became Relevant Persons without the prior consent of the EFL in accordance with the Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT).

“The EFL’s objective was to gather additional evidence as it continued to investigate whether the Club, any Official, any Relevant Person(s) and/or any Persons wishing to acquire Control of the Club complied with the requirements of the OADT and whether any Relevant Person(s) are subject to a Disqualifying Condition.

“Having considered the request for information made of them, Morton House MGT, on behalf of its directors, and representatives, has now informed the League that it is formally withdrawing from the approval process and plans to divest the shares acquired in the Club at the earliest opportunity.

“Furthermore, Morton House MGT, its directors, and representatives, have confirmed to the League they are refusing to co-operate with the League’s ongoing investigations. Despite these developments, the EFL will be continuing with its disciplinary investigations into this matter and will take the most appropriate action available to it under its Regulations.

“More importantly, the EFL will continue to work with Rochdale AFC as we collectively seek to ensure a successful and sustainable long-term future for the Club and all those associated with it, particularly its players, staff, and supporters.”