Bury: EFL could not have prevented club's demise, review finds

Bury FC
Bury AFC, set up by fans since the Shakers' expulsion, is one of 11 clubs to have applied for a spot in the North West Counties League for next season

Any additional action by the English Football League to try to help save Bury FC "would not have made any difference to the eventual outcome", an independent review has concluded.

Bury were expelled from League One in August after a takeover bid collapsed, as they became first team to drop out of the EFL since Maidstone in 1992.

But the review said "a lack of owner funding" ultimately caused the demise.

Steve Dale bought the Shakers from Stewart Day for £1 in December 2018.

However, the club was already in financial trouble when Dale took over with players and staff often being paid late, something that continued up until they were thrown out of the league on 28 August.

An EFL statement on Jonathan Taylor QC's report said: "After considering the steps taken by the EFL at each stage, Mr Taylor concludes that the league spent significant time and effort monitoring the situation at Bury and applying its regulations to try to force the club and its owners to meet their commitments.

"He notes that while it can always be argued, with the benefit of hindsight, that more could have been done, any additional action would not have made any difference to the eventual outcome, which was ultimately caused by a lack of owner funding."

Clubs to have say on television rights

Mr Taylor also prepared a report on EFL governance which included a recommendation that any major commercial contracts - such as television rights - should require the approval of a majority of all EFL clubs and a majority of Championship clubs.

That would see a change in how the EFL manages rights tender processes.

In November 2018, several Championship clubs expressed their "grave concern" after the EFL board announced it had approved a new domestic £595m broadcasting rights deal with Sky Sports.

The clubs had said the five-year deal was agreed without them being fully consulted.

Mr Taylor also recommended that any future changes to divisional financial fair play (FFP) rules should need the approval of a 66% majority of clubs in the relevant division.

That would be a reduction on the current threshold for approval of 75%.

The review also recommended replacing at least three of the six current club representatives on the EFL Board with independent directors.

The EFL Board rejected the idea, saying it would contradict the recommendation for a better working relationship with the clubs.

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