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Bury given two-week deadline to save EFL status after cup clash suspended

The EFL has suspended the Shakers’ Carabao Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday next week.

Bury are two weeks from being thrown out of the EFL (Martin Rickett/PA)
Bury are two weeks from being thrown out of the EFL (Martin Rickett/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Bury have been given a two-week deadline to save their EFL status after the suspension on their notice of withdrawal of membership was lifted by the organisation on Thursday.

The EFL has suspended the Shakers’ Carabao Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday next week and indicated it would tolerate no further delays in its demand that the club provides reassurances over their financial position.

Bury, who have already had their opening matches of the League One season against MK Dons and Accrington Stanley postponed by the EFL, have been continuous members of the competition since 1894.

EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said: “Despite continued efforts, regular communication and dialogue with (Bury owner Steve) Dale and his team, the required evidence has not been forthcoming.

“Albeit regretfully, the board has been left with no choice but to take the action it has.”

Bury’s game against the Owls was called off after the EFL said the club had failed to meet their latest deadline of 1700 on Wednesday, August 7 to provide further satisfactory information regarding creditor debts.

In a statement the EFL said: “Following extensive discussions and correspondence between the club’s ownership and the League – the additional information provided lacks the clarity required and as a result of the League not being able to defer the decision any later than today, the club’s Carabao Cup tie on Tuesday 13 August 2019 will not take place as scheduled in accordance with Carabao Cup rules.

The EFL Board is of the strong opinion that it cannot continue to suspend fixtures indefinitely and, after Wednesday’s deadline for information was passed without a successful resolution, it will now lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal of membership of the EFL EFL statement

“The EFL will continue to concentrate its efforts on working constructively with the club and Mr Dale to obtain the detail required to avoid any further suspensions.

“However, the EFL Board is of the strong opinion that it cannot continue to suspend fixtures indefinitely and, after Wednesday’s deadline for information was passed without a successful resolution, it will now lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal of membership of the EFL.

“Bury were served the notice of withdrawal of membership on 25 Jul 2019 and it has remained suspended until today (8 August 2019).

“As per the League’s Articles of Association, this will now give the Club 14 days (until 23 August 2019) to meet all outstanding requirements of the League’s insolvency policy or its membership of the EFL will be withdrawn.”

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Bury’s 125-year membership of the EFL could be over (Barrington Coombs/PA)

As the news broke on transfer deadline day, many observers drew parallels between Bury’s plight and the huge sums of money being spent on players in the Premier League.

But Dan Jones, of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group, insisted that comparison was “too simplistic” and the issue was down to Bury – and Bolton, another troubled club whose proposed takeover was “temporarily suspended” on Thursday after a court order filed by previous bidder Laurence Bassini – spending beyond their means.

“Money is still trickling down the leagues,” Jones told PA. “There’s more money in the lower leagues than there’s ever been.

“The problems are twofold – the gap between the top and rest has never been bigger and if you’re aspiring to bridge that gap that’s tough, or if you fall into the gap as the likes of Bolton have done.

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Bolton are another club in financial trouble (Dave Howarth/PA)

“The second point, sadly, is that at any individual club, you’ve got an individual set of circumstances. If you operate within your means, there’s no reason at all why every club shouldn’t survive and thrive.

“If you overstretch beyond those means, you will be at risk and unfortunately that’s what’s happened at the likes of Bury and Bolton.

“It’s horrendous for those clubs – as someone based in Manchester, they’re local clubs with fantastic histories and they’re so important to the local communities.

“But to say ‘Player X has been transferred for £40m, that’s ridiculous in the context of clubs going out of business’ – I think that’s too simplistic a line to draw.”

Bury have made no statement since August 3, when they claimed through a lawyer that the EFL’s stance was causing “immeasurable damage” to the club. No one at the club was available for comment on Thursday.

PA

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