League One side Bury have been granted what appears to be a final extension in their attempts to avoid being expelled from the Football League. The Shakers have been given until 5.00p.m. on Tuesday 27th August to conclude an eleventh hour (literally!) takeover that the League were notified of late on Friday night. As such, although Bury will still not commence their 2019-20 season at this stage, they do have four more days to attempt to satisfy the EFL demands, with the most likely route coming via new ownership.
On Friday night, a consortium named as C&N Sporting Risk put out a statement confirming that they had bid for the ownership at Bury. A joint statement from Henry Newman and Rory Campbell - the son of former Labour Party Press Secretary and Strategist Alistair Campbell - declared they were in talks with current Bury owner Steve Dale stating:
"We can confirm that over past 10 weeks we have been in discussions with Bury FC, the EFL and others with a view to putting forward a proposal to buy the club. It is a very complicated scenario and there remain a number of outstanding legal/other issues that have to be addressed. Our background is in football and data analytics and it should therefore not be surprising we are taking a very detailed forensic look at realities of Bury's finances. A club like Bury ought to have a viable long term future even if short term future is clearly very challenging. To that end we have been in talks with EFL regarding an extension so we can continue to explore prospects for a purchase. We will be making no further comment at this stage."
At 11.50p.m. on Friday night - ten minutes before Bury were due to be expelled from the League, the EFL confirmed that they had received comminication from C&N Sporting Risk and that they would be discussing the detail. The EFL Board have since held a Saturday morning Conference Call to discuss the details and the outcome is that they have granted the short term extension. The EFL's Saturday lunchtime statement reads:
"Shortly before Friday's 11.59p.m. 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 have reiterated their stance though that they are not prepared to consider an extension that would require further postponements to be made against Bury's fixture list, with five League One matches, and a League Cup tie already called off. They have therefore made clear that the 5.00p.m. deadline on Tuesday must be the last:
"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 27th 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."
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