Bury have been given extra time to prevent their expulsion from the English Football League.
The EFL has set a new deadline of 5pm on Tuesday for owner Steve Dale to complete a sale after receiving information to consider a request for an extension to Friday’s original deadline.
The Shakers had been poised to be expelled from the EFL for failing to prove the Gigg Lane outfit’s financial viability.
But just minutes before the League One side were due to lose their Football League status on Friday evening, the EFL announced Dale had accepted an offer from C&N Sporting Risk.
An EFL statement issued on Saturday afternoon said: “The EFL board met this morning in regard to Bury FC.
“Shortly before Friday’s 11.59pm Notice of Withdrawal deadline, the EFL received notification that an offer for the club had been accepted and a request was submitted to extend for a further period in order to successfully conclude a sale.
“The board has fully considered the information that has been made available by C&N Sporting Risk and whilst no formal sale has been completed, despite reports to the contrary, enough credible information was presented to allow the board to agree to work exclusively with the club and C&N Sporting Risk over this bank holiday weekend in an attempt to finalise the change of control and achieve a positive outcome for Bury FC.
“The EFL board, however, remains firmly of the view that the League cannot be in a position whereby any more of the club’s 2019/20 fixtures will be suspended due to the integrity of the competition, the impact on other clubs in the League and therefore has stated that matters must be concluded by 5pm on Tuesday 27 August 2019.
“If in the event a successful outcome is not achieved by this point, then Bury FC’s share in the EFL will be withdrawn and its membership in the League will come to an end.”
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said: “The board has considered the evidence presented and has determined, in a final effort to allow the club the opportunity to survive, to grant an extension and work exclusively with the club and C&N Sporting Risk to see if a takeover is possible.
“No one wants to see a club lose its place in the League and we will now work with the potential purchasers over the weekend and ahead of the Tuesday deadline in an attempt to find the solutions required for a sale to take place.”
Rory Campbell and Henry Newman’s C&N Sporting Risk, whose bid was made on Friday, have been working closely with Bury North MP James Frith.
Campbell and Newman told the PA news agency in a statement that they had been in discussions with Bury FC, the EFL and others for 10 weeks with a view to putting forward a proposal to buy the club.
Cheshire-based businessman Dale’s declaration of a sale came just before 10pm on Friday, with a little over two hours remaining before the deadline.
MP Frith welcomed the new EFL deadline, but fears the extension is not long enough to save the Shakers.
He said in a statement: “I’m relieved the EFL deadline has been extended for Bury to get the right deal. I fear the extension is not long enough with so much still to be done. The EFL know this.
“Technically, the EFL has narrowed and shortened the road they might have handed us. A working week 48-hour extension minimum is what I and those of us working on this asked for but this is half that.
“The EFL has taken more than 14 hours to decide this, why expect the bidding party to achieve more in less than the time requested.
“Nevertheless, it’s been a monumental effort to get this far since June 6th when C&N Sporting Risk director Henry Newman first approached me.
“Thank you to my team and everyone across our town, the club and supporters trust. We can be proud to have got this far.
“And we continue. For now, we must trust that the new owners and current owner work in their best interests and ours to get this over the line.
“I’ll continue to fight on all fronts for our best interests and am in frequent contact all day with all parties. It’s now or never. Keep the faith and UTS.”
Dale bought Bury for £1 in December after previous owner Stewart Day ran up huge debts following years of overspending at Gigg Lane.
Having initially claimed to buy Bury for “philanthropic” reasons, Dale put the 134-year-old club into administration this summer and engineered a debt repayment scheme.
The scheme, known as a company voluntary arrangement, would see creditors paid only 25 per cent of what they are owed, with him and his associates being the main beneficiaries.
His plan, however, depended on Bury being allowed to start the season – with a small squad and skeleton staff – and the EFL handing over the club’s share of its central income. That, as desperate Bury fans are well aware, has not happened.
Having previously greeted each EFL postponement of a Bury game – five league fixtures and an EFL Cup tie so far this season – with an angry statement on the club website, Dale announced he was willing to listen to offers for the club early last week.
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