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Bolton Wanderers closure 'put on hold' as club given hope over future

Bolton closure 'put on hold' as club given hope over future
© Reuters
A takeover bid by the Football Ventures consortium could yet go through.

Bolton have been told by their administrator that plans to shut down the club have been put on hold, the PA news agency understands.

Bolton are on the verge of liquidation after the English Football League gave administrator Paul Appleton 14 days to either sell the Sky Bet League One club or prove they can be funded for the rest of the season.

Appleton revealed on Monday there was no money left to fund the club after a takeover bid by the Football Ventures consortium had stalled.

Talks continued on Tuesday and there was optimism Bolton would meet the 5pm deadline to announce a deal had been approved, but progress came too late to stop the EFL enforcing a 14-day notice to withdraw the club’s membership.

Bolton mascot Lofty the Lion (left) and Bury mascot Robbie the Bobby at Gigg Lane, Bury (Peter Byrne/PA)
Bolton mascot Lofty the Lion (left) and Bury mascot Robbie the Bobby at Gigg Lane, Bury (Peter Byrne/PA).

However, PA understands that, following overnight talks, the main issues that had halted the completion of Football Ventures’ takeover have now been resolved and a deal could be completed as early as Wednesday.

It is also understood that an internal message was circulated at the club on Wednesday morning to ease growing concerns that administrators could be about to close the business.

EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said the governing body was in “constant communication” with Wanderers.

Jevans said: “The last communication on Bolton was just after three o’clock this morning and then again at 9am, so there is constant communication as far as Bolton is concerned.”

MP for Bolton West and Atherton Chris Green has called for an urgent inquiry into the financial crisis at Bolton.

He said on his website: “To have Bury FC ejected from the EFL is serious, but to have two clubs ejected if a deal does not go through for the Wanderers is unprecedented and shows that the football league has failed in its duty to protect football clubs from appalling situations like these.

“This cannot be allowed to continue, which is why I am calling for an urgent inquiry into the EFL and their management of the situation at Bolton Wanderers.”

In a statement released on Tuesday night, the EFL said “a resolution to ongoing impasse in negotiations regarding a completion of sale at Bolton Wanderers” had yet to be found.

It added: “The EFL board has therefore taken the decision to lift the suspension on the notice of withdrawal, which was issued as per the EFL’s insolvency policy when the club entered administration in May 2019.”

Appleton issued a brief statement to say he had “noted” the lifting of the withdrawal notice, but would continue to try to save the club.

“All parties have been in continuous dialogue throughout the day and are working closely together (on Tuesday) evening in order to bring a deal to completion,” he said.

The sticking point is understood to be a dispute between the club’s most recent owner Ken Anderson and their biggest creditor, the family trust set up by Bolton businessman and benefactor Eddie Davies before his death last year.

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