MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – One of English football’s oldest clubs, Bury, edged closer to expulsion from the professional game on Friday with a midnight (2300 GMT) deadline approaching without a solution to their financial problems in sight, the Football League (EFL) said.
The League One (third-tier) club from Greater Manchester must prove they can satisfy creditors and show enough operational funding for the current season but the EFL said just hours before the deadline that there had been little progress.
“As of 5pm there has been limited progress made either by the current ownership providing the required evidence in regard to outstanding financial information, or through a change of control being achieved with new owners,” the EFL said in a statement https://www.efl.com/news/2019/august/statement-bury-fc.
“The EFL will continue to provide all support available and will keep working to find a resolution to the ongoing issues ahead of the Notice of Withdrawal deadline, which remains at 11.59 PM on Friday 23 August.”
However, the governing body said if no resolution was achieved by then the club would be out of the league.
“If a successful solution is not found ahead of tonight’s deadline, the Club’s share in the EFL will be withdrawn and its membership in the League will come to an end.”
In practical terms Bury owner Steve Dale, who bought the club for one pound ($1.22) last year, inheriting the debt, would need to have a new investor or buyer in place by midnight.
If expelled the only way the club could continue would be to reapply to join a league further down the English pyramid for the 2020-21 season.
Bury joined the Football League in 1894, nine years after they were founded and have always played at their Gigg Lane ground.
They have lifted the FA Cup twice, in 1900 and 1903, when they beat Derby County 6-0, a record FA Cup final win equalled this year with Manchester City’s victory over Watford.
Although the team, nicknamed ‘The Shakers’ have not been in the top flight since 1929, they were in the second tier as recently as 1999.
Bury won promotion to the third tier last season but in July were given a 12-point deduction after entering into a company voluntary arrangement to try to clear some of their debts.
They have had their first six matches this season suspended and were kicked out of the League Cup.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)