After 125 years, Bury’s English league status hangs on a bank balance

August 1 – Bury’s 125-year membership of the English Football League could come to an end if club owner Steve Dale fails to provide the EFL with sufficient evidence he can sustain the club. 

Last weekend Bury’s opening League One game with MK Dons – scheduled for this Saturday – was called off as the EFL said Bury had failed to show evidence of financial viability. The EFL stated that Dale had not shown the required ‘proof of funds’. The onus is on Dale now to prove by Friday 12pm that he can sustain Bury or the club’s second match in League One this season will also be suspended.

That sanction could lead to the ruling body convening to assess Bury’s situation. In such a scenario the EFL could contemplate expelling Bury from the league.

“We want to see that players have been paid and we want to see assurance of funding the club can be run for the season,” said EFL interim chair Debbie Jevans. “It’s simply not true we’re standing in their way. We are here 24 hours a day to work with him but it is up to him to provide the information that is required.”

Dale responded in a statement on Tuesday, claiming that he did provide the EFL with proof of funds, including a possible £1.5 million loss which he described as “fictional”.

However, the EFL’s own investigation revealed that former players, who had helped the club gain promotion from League Two in May, have not been paid since February.

Full-time staff at clubs are classed as “football creditors” in any insolvency procedure. Last month Bury entered into a company voluntary arrangement. Dale committed to paying “non-football creditors” 25 pence for every pound owed. In total, Dale is believed to owe £1 million to various creditors, including £405,815 to football creditors.

Dale has repeatedly dismissed that Bury carry a debt of up to £1.5 million.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1580242185labto1580242185ofdlr1580242185owedi1580242185sni@o1580242185fni1580242185