Bolton Wanderers: Takeover suspended by Laurence Bassini court order

Laurence Bassini
Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini claimed in April that he had agreed a deal to buy Bolton

Bolton Wanderers' takeover by Football Ventures has been suspended after Laurence Bassini, who previously tried to buy the club, was awarded a court order blocking the sale.

Bolton's joint administrator Paul Appleton said on Thursday that the sale had been "on the brink of completion".

The consortium's head, Sharon Brittan, watched the club's opening game of the season at Wycombe on Saturday.

The League One club entered administration in May.

"It is with a combination of outrage and disgust that I have to inform Bolton fans that the deal to sell the club has been temporarily suspended in the last hour," said Appleton.

"Despite a long and hugely complex process of negotiation, we were finally on the brink of completion this afternoon when Bassini's order was served.

"Our lawyers are now in conversation with Counsel in a bid to overturn the order immediately."

EFL 'extremely frustrated'

The English Football League said: "We are extremely frustrated by this late development with the deal so close to completion, and our focus must remain firmly on ensuring the long-term future of the football club.

"The league is not a party to the proceedings and we are currently liaising with the administrators of the club to understand the full extent of any implications to the proposed transfer of assets."

Just three contracted senior outfield players travelled to Bolton's first game at Wycombe, as eight players made their club debuts in a 2-0 loss.

After that game, manager Phil Parkinson said the takeover of the club could "not come soon enough" to help his side compete in League One this season.

On Wednesday, Bolton halted ticket sales for their first League One home game of the 2019-20 campaign, which is scheduled to be against Coventry City on Saturday, 10 August.

Tickets were due to go on sale at 09:00 BST on Wednesday but as yet none have been sold - and no season tickets have been made available for purchase either.

Why is Bassini blocking the sale?

In 2013, Bassini was given a three-year ban from being involved in a position of authority with any EFL club.

The former Watford owner initially agreed a deal to buy Bolton in April, only for his purchase to eventually fall through in May.

His intended takeover was originally announced on 17 April, but Bolton owner Ken Anderson said later that month that if Bassini did not provide proof of funds he would explore other options.

When that did not happen, a summer of uncertainty followed at the University of Bolton Stadium, as some players went five months without being paid.

Bolton's first game of the season was under threat of suspension, before the EFL said on 30 July that Wanderers had "met the requirements of the league, subject to the completion of formal documentation" to show their financial viability.

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