League One club Bury FC have been hit with the devastating news that their EFL membership has been withdrawn after owner Steve Dale failed to find a buyer for the club buy the 5pm deadline on Tuesday evening.
In a statement just after 11pm on Tuesday the EFL confirmed the news saying,“The EFL Board met earlier this evening and, after a long and detailed discussion, determined that Bury FC’s membership of the English Football League be withdrawn after the deadline passed at 5pm today (Tuesday 27 August) without a successful resolution.
All of Bury’s fixtures this season had been suspended with the EFL not allowing them to play until Dale could prove the club had the funds to pay for the season, or had been bought.
Initially the deadline for the sale of the club was last Friday at midnight but there was enough evidence to suggest a deal could be done that the deadline was moved to Tuesday evening.
Fans were optimistic and turned up at Gigg Lane to get it ready for a first game of the season on Saturday afternoon.
However with just an hour to go until the 5pm deadline the deal collapsed. In their statement the EFL added,“At its meeting on 24 August 2019, the Board agreed a short extension to 5pm today (Tuesday 27 August) to enable Mr Dale and the Club to explore the possibility of a proposed sale with C&N Sporting Risk Limited, with Mr Dale having accepted their offer. Following due diligence, C&N Sporting Risk Limited opted not to pursue its interest.
“Therefore, having fully considered all available options, including a number of late expressions of interest provided to the EFL, the EFL Board has unanimously determined with enormous regret that Bury’s membership be withdrawn.
“The EFL Board had maintained that there could be no further suspensions to the fixture list and that these ongoing concerns and the integrity of the competition were a significant factor in the decision.”
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said,“Today is undoubtedly one of the darkest days in the League’s recent history. The EFL has worked determinedly and tirelessly to avoid this outcome and it is with a heavy heart that this situation has been forced upon us.
“…No one wanted to be in this position but following repeated missed deadlines, the suspension of five League fixtures, in addition to not receiving the evidence we required in regard to financial commitments and a possible takeover not materialising; the EFL Board has been forced to take the most difficult of decisions.”
The EFL confirmed that League One would continue with 23 teams for the rest of the season and only three teams will be relegated.
However there could be more devastating news with Bolton Wanderers given 14 days to come up with a buyer or they will also have their membership withdrawn, which would leave the league with 22 teams.