As it Happened: Bolton Given Final Warning at High Court

  • March 07, 2016 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/8368c

Bolton Wanderers have been given 14 days to conclude a sale of the club, after they were granted a third and final adjournment at the High Court.

Wanderers, who owe more than £3million in unpaid VAT and PAYE tax bills, have been the subject of a winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), who have attempted to have the club liquidated since the initial hearing on January 18.

After two previous adjournments, Bolton officials were present as their latest court hearing began shortly before 10:30am, before quickly being put back to 14:00 after the Football League granted conditional approval to the transfer of ownership from Eddie Davies to Sports Shield, a consortium headed by former Wanderers forward Dean Holdsworth.

The reason for putting the case back to the afternoon was to provide the court with an opportunity to provide a validation order, which would unfreeze accounts and allow finance to be transferred as necessary in order to fulfill a takeover.

When court returned to session, it emerged that Football League officials had reservations over the proposed takeover and would only give their full approval if funds could be raised to replace those missing by the unforeseen drop out of a key investor.

HMRC accused Bolton of 'playing with the process', sticking to their original accusation that the club was insolvent. Wanderers strenuously denied both statements, claiming 'significant progress' had been made with efforts to complete a sale, although the current owner, Davies, had submitted a notice of administration in a last-ditch attempt to avoid liquidation.

After a deal was reached to clear a portion of outstanding debt owed to HMRC through a current account, the judge agreed to a two-week adjournment but criticised the club for stretching 'judicial discretion' and informed them that they would likely be liquidated if a sale does not come to fruition during that period.

In reaction to their latest High Court appearance, a Wanderers statement read: "Bolton Wanderers can announce that the club has been granted a third and final adjournment of 14 days by the High Court at today's hearing in respect of the winding up petition in order to allow the owner to complete a sale of the controlling interest in the club.

"The club have received conditional approval to the transfer of ownership from the Football League.

"The board would again like to thank all staff at the club for their loyalty and unfaltering commitment to the cause through this incredibly difficult period."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
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