Bury cannot appeal over expulsion from league says EFL

C&N Sporting Risk pulled out of its proposed takeover of Bury just a few hours before the deadline to meet the league’s requirements. (Reuters pic)

MANCHESTER: Bury, expelled from the Football League (EFL) on Tuesday after failing to provide guarantees about their finances, have no right of appeal against the decision, EFL Executive Chair Debbie Jevans said on Wednesday.

Bury, with 125 years of Football League membership, became the first team to be expelled since Maidstone in 1992 after a takeover bid fell through just before a deadline to satisfy the EFL about their future.

“There’s no appeal process. It is within people’s rights to write to us, we await any correspondence, should it arrive,” Jevans told reporters.

C&N Sporting Risk pulled out of its proposed takeover of the League One (third-tier) team just a few hours before the deadline to meet the league’s requirements saying the club’s finances were full of complications.

Jevans said she was upset that the EFL had to expel Bury but added that the process was now completed.

“Devastated, no other word for it. I understand what I’ve heard the fans say. It’s very sad,” she said.

“But that decision was made, the share (in the EFL) has been revoked and is now with the EFL,” she added.

Jevans said the EFL, which had postponed five league games and kicked Bury out of the League Cup, had no choice after extending their deadline to work with C&N on a potential deal.

“I don’t honestly know what more we could have done,” she said.

One of the bidders who made a late attempt to purchase Bury, SJ Global International, have asked for the decision to be rescinded according to British media and Bury owner Steve Dale has also urged the EFL to overturn their decision.

“If the many requests to rescind remain unanswered we believe an independent adjudicator should be brought in,” Dale told Sky Sports.

“We also want a secret ballot of all EFL clubs to ask the question if they want fellow clubs Bolton and Bury FC to be taken out of the league, I don’t think they would want that.”

The EFL have given fellow third-tier club Bolton Wanderers, another North West team with a more illustrious past, two weeks to complete a sale to a new owner or face the same fate as Bury.

League mechanics

Bury’s expulsion means that one less team will be relegated this season from League One, which will have 23 clubs.

The EFL has said that the promotion of four teams from League Two will remain, allowing the division to return to 24 teams next season.

No decision has yet been taken on how to return the EFL to 72 clubs but it is likely that one less team would be relegated from League Two to the fifth-tier National League.

The EFL had found itself trying to maintain the integrity of a competition, in the face of match postponements, whilst also trying to help find a solution for Bury, said Jevans.

Dale took over the club from former owner Stewart Day in December last year and has said he found the club’s finances in a mess with extensive debts.

But Dale, who said he was not aware of the team’s existence before he became involved in its purchase, has also come in for criticism for the way he has handled the club.

Although there were reports of several late bids coming in, Jevans said ultimately the sale of the club was a matter for Dale.

“A number of people were asking him ‘Why don’t you sell the club?’ It was his choice not to,” said the EFL chief.

“All we can do is work with the power we have to find a solution. The EFL doesn’t run football clubs; it can work with the owners to give them all the options, which is what we did,” she said.

Jevans added that the league would look into information provided by C&N and also examine how Bury came to be in such a state while broader issues will form part of an ongoing review.

“We’ve already started a governance review and we’ll see that through,” she said.

Having an independent regulator to enforce tighter controls on club finances has been floated by some pundits but Jevans was not willing to commit to such an idea, stressing however that she was ready to talk with various parties.

“I’ve heard those conversations as well and there is merit without question in sitting down with the FA and even the Premier League.

“We are open to dialogue with stakeholders to look at ways that we can take lessons from this and ensure that football is run in a way going forward that we can all be proud of.”