Bassini’s takeover of Bolton is off

2 May 2019

bassini
Photo: Getty Images Laurence Bassini did not appear at a crucial meeting today - meaning the sale of Bolton Wanderers to him is off.

Bassini did not turn up for meeting with EFL to provide proof of funds.

Wanderers insist deal with former Watford owner is dead.

Richard Jolly contact@offthepitch.com

Bolton have declared that Laurence Bassini’s takeover of the club is off after the former Watford owner failed to attend a scheduled meeting with the Football League where he was due to provide proof of funds for his buyout.

It leaves Wanderers, who have been relegated to League One, at risk of going into administration when they face a winding-up order at the High Court on May 8 over an unpaid tax bill of £1.2 million.

Bolton stated they would not enter into any further talks with Bassini, who had requested a further two days to give the EFL the documentation they required for him to take ownership of the club after a meeting on Tuesday.

No meeting took place

Wanderers issued a statement on Thursday, reading:

“Following the request from Mr Bassini to allow him a further 48 hours to complete his funding package and present this to the EFL, we can now confirm that no subsequent meeting took place and nothing further has been presented for the board of the EFL to consider.

We thank him for his efforts on behalf of the club and wish him well with any future interests to return to football following his previous brief spell at Watford.

“Given the urgency of the situation, which has been expressed to Mr Bassini, we now consider his approach for the club at an end and no further discussions will be entered into on the matter with him. We thank him for his efforts on behalf of the club and wish him well with any future interests to return to football following his previous brief spell at Watford.”

Work has never been undertaken

Bolton, who are currently owned by Ken Anderson, refuted Bassini’s claims they owe other clubs money.

They added:

“The club would not wish to get into detail in respect of a number of comments attributed to Mr Bassini; however, we would like to confirm that despite repeated offers to allow his professional advisors to carry out due diligence in the club's data room this work has never been undertaken so we are at a loss as to understand the comments regarding additional debt that he claimed to have discovered.

Anderson tried to put the club into admin and because he did this it triggers off a default, like a breach. What that does is it carries a 12-point [deduction].

“We can only assume the ongoing cash flow requirements for the next two seasons as required by the EFL for all potential acquirers of a club are what Mr Bassini refers to when talking about ‘additional debt’.”

Triggers off a default

Bassini had stated earlier on Thursday he was seeking reassurances that Bolton would not suffer a 12-point deduction next season because current owner Ken Anderson had attempted to put the club into administration.

He told Talksport:

“Anderson tried to put the club into admin and because he did this it triggers off a default, like a breach. What that does is it carries a 12-point [deduction]. They will go into the new season with the risk of losing 12 points. 

“There is also a situation where other clubs are owed money – I don’t know what embargoes and I have requested that information to know what embargoes we are going to be facing. And obviously last week, what happened with the players when they went on strike.

Save £10 million

“I don’t want to go into this with a 12-point deduction. I am not going to say we might as well sit in admin, but that’s where we’re are sitting at and if that’s the case, in a way, it’s better to go into admin because we’ll save £10 million and that’s more to build on the club.”

Bolton’s players have agreed to play Sunday’s game away at Nottingham Forest after the PFA has loaned money to players who were not paid their wages for March.

The EFL selected May 7 for Wanderers’ other remaining match, at home to Brentford, which was due to be played last Saturday but was postponed after the players went on strike.

However, the Football League said the game might not be played if Bolton enter administration, revealing they have talked about the prospect of that happening.

Not insist on the game being played

It said in a statement:

“The board also discussed the potential of Bolton Wanderers being placed into administration and took the view if that was to happen, the EFL would not insist the game be played.”

HMRC had issued Bolton with a winding-up petition. The case was adjourned on April 3 until next week to give Wanderers time to find a buyer.

In addition, the Bolton Whites hotel, which is attached to the University of Bolton Stadium and is also owned by Anderson, was temporarily closed this week as staff have not been paid.