MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - One of English football’s oldest clubs, Bury, faced with expulsion from the professional game due to their financial problems, may be saved after their owner said on Friday he had agreed to sell the club.
The Football League (EFL) had set a deadline of midnight for Bury to prove they can satisfy creditors and show enough operational funding for the current season, yet in practice, that became a race to find a new owner for the club.
Current owner Steve Dale told British media, around two hours before the deadline, that he had agreed a deal to sell.
The EFL later said in a statement that Dale had informed the body that he had accepted an offer from London company C&N Sporting Risk.
C&N said in a statement that they were in discussions to buy the club but there remained a number of outstanding legal and other issues to be addressed.
“We have been in discussions with the EFL about an extension (to the deadline) so that we can continue to explore the prospects for a purchase,” it said.
The EFL, however, said they were waiting for more information from C&N before deciding on any extension.
Previously, the governing body had said if no resolution was achieved by midnight the club would be out of the league.
If expelled the only way the club could continue would be to reapply to join a league further down the English pyramid for the 2020-21 season.
Bury joined the Football League in 1894, nine years after they were founded and have always played at their Gigg Lane ground.
They have lifted the FA Cup twice, in 1900 and 1903, when they beat Derby County 6-0, a record FA Cup final win equalled this year with Manchester City’s victory over Watford.
Although the team, nicknamed ‘The Shakers’ have not been in the top flight since 1929, they were in the second tier as recently as 1999.
Bury won promotion to the third tier last season but in July were given a 12-point deduction after entering into a company voluntary arrangement to try to clear some of their debts.
They have had their first six matches this season suspended and were kicked out of the League Cup.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis