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EFL clubs could open door for Bury to be readmitted to league next season

The Shakers’ Rescue Board is hoping for readmission to League Two in time for next season.

EFL clubs could vote to readmit Bury to League Two next season (Dave Howarth/PA)
EFL clubs could vote to readmit Bury to League Two next season (Dave Howarth/PA)

By Jamie Gardner, PA

Football League clubs could open the door for Bury to be readmitted to League Two next season when they gather in Milton Keynes on Thursday.

The 71 members are convening for a regular clubs meeting after what has been a torrid start to the 2019-20 EFL season, with Bury’s membership in the league being withdrawn last month and Bolton only saved following a last-ditch takeover.

One of the items on the agenda is understood to be a vote on how the EFL will look for the 2020-21 season.

It is understood the clubs could vote for one of three options – to remain at 71 members, push up to 72 by reprieving the club finishing second-bottom in League Two at the end of this season with just one team coming up from the National League, or the third option would be to allow either a second club to come up from the National League or admit another club – potentially Bury.

The Shakers are seeking “compassionate re-entry” to the EFL, as outlined in a letter from the Bury Rescue Board to the league last week.

The Rescue Board is chaired by James Frith, MP for Bury North.

The submission included a commitment to sell the club from current owner Steve Dale, who signed a separate supporting document, as well as confirmation of active bidders.

And in a statement released on Tuesday, Dale appealed to the Football League’s members to vote for the Shakers’ reinstatement, insisting his club “is a victim, not a villain”.

Bury, who had been due to compete in League One this season, were expelled from the league in late August after the collapse of a takeover bid.

At that point, the club had already had their opening five matches of the season suspended due to their failure to provide documentation showing they had the funds to see out the campaign.

“We accept the EFL has had to take action given the mismanagement that has brought Bury FC to this position,” Frith wrote in the submission to the EFL.

“However we believe the expulsion followed by the loss of a season’s football and readmission on terms you dictate is a fair punishment.

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Bury fans are hoping to see league football again at Gigg Lane next season (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Lastly we acknowledge the precedent whilst knowing the circumstances surrounding Bury FC in league football have not been wholly unique and so urge compassionate re-entry for our club.”

Should EFL clubs vote in favour of readmitting Bury, or another club, it would require an additional general meeting to be called in order to change the regulations. The annual general meeting is scheduled to take place in Portugal next June.

The EFL stated earlier this month that in the current circumstances, a club seeking to re-enter the Football League would need to apply to the Football Association. The FA would consider it and then decide which league was appropriate for the club to enter.

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Bury’s membership of the EFL was withdrawn in August (Dave Howarth/PA)

The EFL board will also recommend that the member clubs vote in favour of appointing former Premier League chief executive Rick Parry as the league’s new chairman.

If endorsed, the appointment would need ratification at a general meeting.

It has been reported that a number of other issues could be raised at the meeting, including apparent discontent among some Championship clubs about the EFL’s television deal and also whether clubs who fail to pay staff in any given month should face points penalties.

PA

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