Post by Football News on Jan 18, 2016 13:00:39 GMT
Bolton Wanderers given stay of execution over winding-up order
• Club has until 22 February to find a rescue scheme • Players and training ground are up for sale
Life goes on at the Macron Stadium – for now.
Bolton have avoided moves in the high court to have the club wound up. The Wanderers, who are bottom of the Championship, were given until 22 February to find a rescue scheme.
Bolton struggled to pay their players’ wages in the run-up to christmas and are struggling with the burden of £183m net debt. The hearing against one of the the founder members of the Football league was brought over £2.2m of unpaid VAT and PAYE.
HMRC’s legal team told the registrar Michael Briggs that the “proposed route” for rescuing the club was “speculative to say the least”, and Bolton Wanderers FC Ltd appeared “to be very clearly insolvent”.
But Hilary Stonefrost, representing the club, said commercially sensitive negotiations were taking place with prospective purchasers and other moves were being made to raise funds.
Putting the club through the insolvency process now would lead to “financial disaster”, added Stonefrost.
The club is hoping to sell a car park at the Macron Stadium, which is next to a retail park, in a deal that could tie it over until the end of the current season.
It is understood that three-to-four parties are in active discussions about taking over from the long-time owner Eddie Davies but, as yet, no one group has stumped up the cash to end Wanderers’ financial turmoil.
Everything is up for sale while Bolton try to balance the books, including players and the club’s training ground and it is understood they are in discussions with both Preston and Wigan regarding the facilities at Euxton.
Trevor Birch, who is advising the board at the club, told the Bolton website: “HMRC takes a very strict approach towards football clubs. Despite the club putting forward a solution, utilising funds generated from its assets that would have enabled repayment of its debt in full over a period of a few months, HMRC refused to agree to an adjournment to give effect to the plan.
“With that in mind, it is pleasing that the high court rejected its wish to liquidate the club and that it has given the club time either to raise funds and or conclude a sale.”
Bolton Wanderers have confirmed that talks are 'ongoing' as they bid to seal a takeover and avoid expulsion from the English Football League.
The Trotters were told by the EFL that a deal had to be in place by Tuesday 5pm, or they could face an explosion notice from League One. Paul Appleton, joint administrator for Bolton, announced the club could enter the liquidation process as early as Wednesday after a deal to purchase the recently-relegated Championship outfit fell through over the weekend.
Football Ventures, whose deal collapsed over the weekend, still have preferred bidder status and are still in talks with Bolton despite the deadline passing.
Bolton will not be thrown out by the EFL immediately and there could be time to find a deal during a 14-day notice period, in which the club have to prove they have the funds to survive, just as Bury had to. However, given Appleton's statement that the club doesn't have the funds to trade, a deal needs to be in place sooner rather than later. The club's official Twitter account wrote: "Discussions are ongoing with all parties and a further statement will be issued later this evening."
Fans and the football community now face a gruelling wait to see what the Trotters face will be.