Bassini has two more days to complete takeover of Bolton

30 April 2019

bassini
Photo: Getty Images Laurence Bassini still needs to prove he has the funds required to take over Bolton Wanderers.

Governing body say former Watford owner must provide proof of funds.

Bolton’s future is still up in the air while players have been on strike.

Richard Jolly contact@offthepitch.com

Laurence Bassini has been given a further two days to provide the Football League with proof he has the funds to complete his takeover of Bolton.

It means the relegated club’s future remains up in the air as Bolton wait to discover if they can finish their fixtures for the season and avoid administration.

The EFL has not received all the information it requires.

The former Watford owner met with EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey in London on Tuesday evening only for there to be a further delay in the saga of their takeover as Bassini said he would give evidence he has the required finances by Thursday evening.

Missed deadline

Bolton had announced on Tuesday morning that current owner Ken Anderson and Bassini had held further talks after the latter missed a deadline on Monday to provide proof of funds to buy the club.

Wanderers said that Anderson, who owns 94.5 percent of shares in Bolton via the parent company Burnden Leisure Limited, would walk away from the deal if Bassini did not get clearance from the EFL to complete his takeover.

The Football League said in a statement:

“The EFL’s Chief Exec has tonight met with Laurence Bassini regarding a possible change of control at Bolton. The EFL has not received all the information it requires and Mr Bassini has committed to return with the relevant details in the next 48 hours.”

Fit-and-proper test

Bassini, who has twice been declared bankrupt, was banned from owning a Football League club for three years in 2013 but has pledged to invest “significant funds” in Bolton.

The EFL are yet to confirm if the controversial businessman will pass their fit-and-proper persons tests.

...though the first-team squad are yet to confirm if they will be available.

Bassini has said he has the funds to pay Bolton’s players, who are yet to receive their salaries for March, but stated last week that he could not do so until he became owner.

Bolton’s home game against Brentford on Saturday was postponed after their players went on strike in protest about the continued non-payment of wages.

Wanderers are due to travel to Nottingham Forest on Sunday, though the first-team squad are yet to confirm if they will be available. The EFL have ordered Bolton to field youth-team players if necessary to play the fixture.

Owe money

Bolton face a winding-up order at the High Court on May 8 over an unpaid tax bill of £1.2 million. The hearing was postponed on April 3 to allow Anderson a further opportunity to sell the club but Bolton, who also owe money to other companies, could end up in administration, which would carry a points deduction.

While the EFL has not confirmed Bolton are under a transfer embargo, they almost certainly are. Clubs are placed under an embargo if they 30 days late in paying wages in a year – either cumulatively or for one month – and Bolton were already late for both November and February before again failing to pay at the end of March.

The Bolton squad have had the support of the PFA, who issued a statement on Friday backing their decision to go on strike while the EFL have referred Wanderers to an independent disciplinary commission for failing to fulfil the fixture against Brentford. If found guilty, potential punishments could include a ticking-off, a fine or a points deduction.

Need a safety certificate

Bolton had to abandon plans to stage the postponed game against Brentford this midweek, meaning May 7 now may be the most likely date.

Under Football League regulations, the game must be scheduled for within four days of the end of the regulation season, which occurs on Sunday.

Bolton would need to get a safety certificate, which could be in doubt if staff at the stadium are not paid, and while it may be an option to play the game behind closed doors, the EFL has a preference for every match to have a crowd.