Bury FC's expulsion sparks increased calls for football to introduce independent regulator

There have been increased calls for tougher regulation on how football is governed following Bury Football Club's tragic expulsion from the English Football League (EFL).

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 2:49 pm
Supporters have argued the case for improved regulation after Bury's expulsion from the EFL
Supporters have argued the case for improved regulation after Bury's expulsion from the EFL

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Bury's expulsion a tragic inevitability after EFL ignored Blackpool's warning si...

A petition arguing for the introduction of an independent regulator has attracted a further 1,000 signatures since the Shakers' tragic news last night.

Bury owner Steve Dale had been given until 5pm on Tuesday to come up with a plan for paying the club's debts and funding them going forward or sell them to someone who can.

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It had been hoped that C&N Sporting Risk would be the answer but the London-based firm pulled out of the deal 90 minutes before the deadline, citing concerns over the club's confusing debt structure.

The EFL subsequently decided to withdraw Bury's membership, which will almost certainly result in the 134-year-old club facing liquidation.

When asked if Dale should have been allowed to buy the club, EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said: "That's the million dollar question, the fact is under the current regulations the answer is yes.

"He arrived at the office with the previous owner having purchased the share, which he is entitled to do. At that point he passed the owners and directors test as it is currently laid down within the regulations.

"At that point, questions were asked of him to prove he had the funding to run this club. He did pass the initial test. It is up to him whether he sells the club or not. He chose to go down a CVA route and he understood the consequences of that, which would be a point penalty and 14-day notice period.

"If you look at the bigger picture we have to sit back and see if lessons can be learned. We need to go to the clubs and discuss that with them, which we will."

Bury's demise has renewed calls among football fans to spark change, with many deeply unhappy with how the EFL and the FA are currently running the game.

The EFL admitted they had not asked for proof of funds from Dale, who bought Bury for £1 last year.

The businessman has been previously involved with 43 companies that have faced liquidation, yet he still passed the EFL's Owners' and Directors' Test.

Blackpool fans unhappy with the previous Oyston ownership of their club have led the campaign for change in recent years.

Last year Blackpool Supporters' Trust set up a petition calling for the introduction of an independent regulator after sharing frustration with the EFL's lack of action towards Owen Oyston - a convicted rapist who "illegitimately stripped" the club of millions of pounds.

The petition urged the government to introduce an independent regulator for English football, charged with ensuring the "highest possible standards of governance" for all clubs.

However, despite Blackpool being far from the only English club to experience strife with their owner, it received little traction away from the Fylde coast - gaining just 14,500 signatures.

The government responded after the petition gained 10,000 signatures, saying there was no "desire" or "need" to introduce an independent regulator.

However, a new petition has since been set up which, at the time of writing, has gained 6,600 signatures, but the total is rapidly increasing.

To add your signature to the petition, click here.