August 9 – As England’s top clubs spent a combined £1.41 billion on transfers, lower down the money foodchain EFL League One club Bury inched closer to extinction after the club was given a two-week deadline to meet financial regulations.
Bury’s 125-year membership of the football league is under serious threat if the north English club do not offer financial guarantees that they can comply with the regulations set out by the EFL for League One clubs. After prolonged talks with Bury owner Steve Dale the EFL remains unconvinced that Bury can sustain itself this season.
“The Club had been set a 5pm deadline on Wednesday 7 August 2019 by the League who were seeking further information into how they planned to meet its commitments in respect of football creditor debts, payment to unsecured creditors as part of the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), alongside source and sufficiency of funding for season 2019/20,” read an official statement by the EFL.
“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.”
Bury, who won promotion from league Two last season, have had their opening League One games with MK Dons and Accrington Stanley postponed and now their Carabao Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday. They were already starting the season with a 12-point deduction.
Playing in League one means that full-time staff must be paid in full. They 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’ 25p 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 said that Bury carry a debt of up to £1.5 million, but Bury’s complications have compelled the EFL to lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal of membership of the EFL.
“Despite continued efforts, regular communication and dialogue with Mr Dale and his team, the required evidence has not been forthcoming,” said EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans. “Albeit regretfully, the Board has been left with no choice but to take the action it has.”
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