Despite a lot of press talk today, and an endless number of interviews being conducted by Bury owner Steve Dale, the Football League have stated that they only see 'limited progress' in last ditch attempts to stop the Shakers from being expelled from the Football League. The League One side has until midnight tonight to either provide proof of financial viability under Dale's current Ownership, or to provide a commitment to handover the football club to alternative Owners that are capable of satisfying Football League regulations.
Dale's interviews today have claimed that he has a 'prospective buyer' for the club as well as other interested people, and this buyer has been in contact with the Football League to discuss the current situation. However, in a statement issued at 5.00p.m. today, the EFL have said that as things stand they do not have enough information to give hope to Bury's fans that their club can start the 2019-20 season:
"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 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 11.59p.m. on Friday 23rd August."
EFL Chief Executive Debbie Jevans has said in interviews over the last day that she is reluctant to provide any last minute extensions, and that if they are granted they will only be considered for a 24-48 hour period, pointing out that with five League One fixtures already needing to be rearranged, that the League couldn't consider any further fixture backlog to build up. The League's statement continues to make clear that the most likely scenario is that Bury will be expelled from the EFL if there is not substantial progress by midnight tonight:
"If a successful solution is not found ahead of tonight's deadline, the Club's share in the EFL will be withdrawn and its membership in the League will come to an end. The EFL will move to confirm the position as soon as possible, with an update to be provided on Saturday 24th August."
Jevans has hinted in interviews that she would only consider a further extension if there was clear evidence that a prospective buyer was on the edge of an agreement, such that the extra 24-48 hours would make a difference to drive that deal through. However, she ruled out any extension that involved 'weeks', meaning that Bury's match against Tranmere Rovers will be the last postponed fixture the EFL will grant.
If there is no change in the situation over the next seven hours, Bury's 2019-20 League One record will be expunged with the EFL having stated that this would result in three clubs being relegated from League One, whilst one club would be relegated from League Two at the end of the 2019-20 season to rebalance numbers. The identity of Bury FC would at that stage have to be mothballed until the 2020-21 season, with the Shakers needing to apply to leagues further down the pyramid, depending on what sort of state they are in at that stage.
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