Having spent much of August 2019 with Bury in their sights, the EFL now appear to be moving onto fellow League One side Bolton Wanderers. Both clubs were given 12 point deductions over the summer, due to their insolvency events, under standard league rules. However, Bolton were granted permission to start the 2019-20 season, on the assumption that their sale to a consortium known as Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, a company headed by Sharon Brittan and Parminder Basran was in advanced talks with Bolton's administrators and on its way to a successful takeover.
Two events appear to have brought into question how likely that is to happen. Firstly former Watford owner Laurence Bassini, who had also bid for ownership of the club, was granted a court order, blocking the sale of one of the companies associated with the club. Whilst that court order has now been amended, enabling the deal to go through, Football Ventures have still yet to complete the takeover.
On Tuesday, Bolton postponed their match against Doncaster Rovers, citing welfare issues, due to the significant number of Under-18 players they were having to field for that fixture. This decision didn't go down well, given that Doncaster state that they found out about the game being called off, via Bolton's social media, rather than through direct communications, whilst a fairly weak EFL statement later strongly implied that they had also not been consulted in the decision.
In the wake of that postponement, first team manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin resigned their positions, whilst Bolton conceded five goals against Ipswich Town on Saturday - the third consecutive match in which they've leaked that many. The Football League have now stepped in, giving Bolton's administrators and prospective owners until Tuesday 27th August at 5.00p.m. to provide them with a credible plan for the sale of the club, or they will execute a Notice of Withdrawal of Bolton's membership of the Football League. The EFL's statement says:
"Having been previously advised in writing on the morning of the start of the season that the deal was all but agreed and only awaiting completion signatures, there has been constant contradictory information and no finalisation of the deal. The current situation cannot continue and the time to resolve the current impasse is now fast running out. Whilst it is understood as recently as yesterday that the parties were once again in a position to complete the formalities, there appears to be additional frustrating delays that are only serving to have a negative and detrimental impact.
"The EFL urges all parties to communicate and come together to find the necessary and final solutions so that Bolton Wanderers can start to plan for its long term future and end months of uncertainty for all those associated with the Club, in particular the players, staff, supporters and the local Bolton community. If a successful conclusion to a sale is not found or there are no credible plans for the Club to continue the season in administration by the planned Board meeting at 5pm on Tuesday 27th August 2019, then the EFL Board will consider lifting the suspension on the Notice of Withdrawal of the Club's membership of the League which was issued when the Club entered into administration in May 2019."
If the Football League's position is in line with what they adopted for Bury, the Notice of Withdrawal would have a 14 day period against it, thus giving Bolton until Tuesday 10th September before they would be expelled from the Football League.
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