Bury: Judgement day for Sky Bet League One club
By Alan Myers, Sky Sports News Reporter
Last Updated: 24/08/19 8:20am
Bury can boast 125 years of league history, but that could come to an end as they face expulsion from the EFL at midnight on Friday. The club has until then to prove it has the funds necessary to stay in the EFL.
What will happen should they not do that?
The EFL says it will continue to provide support to the current Bury ownership to try and find a resolution ahead of the Notice of Withdrawal deadline.
However, if Bury do not meet the deadline - either under Steve Dale's ownership or with a new owner - then its EFL share will be withdrawn.
They will then be required to return that share to the EFL at this point. If they do not, the EFL board can authorise the necessary share transfer on behalf of Bury which shall be legally binding on all parties.
The future for Bury
If the worst happens and Bury loses its league status, it is important to stress that it does not mean it will go out of business.
The club can apply to the Football Association to be permitted to a league further down the pyramid. But which league will depend on an FA board decision.
What about the effect on other clubs?
In the event of expulsion from the league, Bury's record from the 2019/20 season would be expunged with League One consisting of 23 clubs for the remainder of the campaign and the number of relegation places reduced to three at the conclusion of 2019/20 season.
Four promotion places would remain from League Two ensuring a full complement of 24 teams in League One in 2020/21 and only one team will be relegated from League two this season.
What happens to Dale if the club is expelled or not?
Whether Bury retains or loses its league status, Dale remains owner of the club unless he agrees to sell it.
However, its value would be significantly diminished if it did not hold league membership.
Should the financial impasse be resolved, two scenarios are possible
Firstly, if Dale can provide the league with the information it requires i.e credible proof of source and sufficiency funding, by the deadline, then the league would work with the club. The embargo on signing players would be lifted and games will begin to be played.
Alternatively, if a credible alternative buyer comes forward with a tangible offer, the EFL could consider extending the deadline of the 'Notice to Withdraw Membership', however, that would need to be completed within a window of 24-48 hours.
The future for the EFL
The EFL is currently undergoing a review into its governance and on the agenda is the issue of the Owners and Directors test.
The Bury situation has brought into focus the validity of the current system and its ability to prevent such situations.
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans has confirmed that this, along with a number of other issues including the league's rules and regulations, will be addressed as part of that review following the appointment of a CEO and Chairperson.