Bolton Wanderers is facing the prospect of being entered into liquidation unless a buyer for the beleaguered football club can be found within a matter of hours.
Administrators have explained that a deal which would have seen ownership of the club change hands fell through on Saturday August 24.
A deadline of 5pm on Tuesday August 27 has now been set by the English Football League (EFL), which has said it needs to see either a takeover deal completed by that time or compelling reasons given for more time to be granted to allow for a potential rescue deal to happen.
Statements given by the football club’s administrators make clear that as a business it is not currently in a position to continue trading and it could face being closed down as soon as Wednesday August 28.
Closing down without new owners would see Bolton Wanderers expelled from the EFL and the League One competition in which it currently competes, and liquidation proceedings commenced.
At least 150 jobs losses will be “inevitable” if Bolton were to enter liquidation but administrators have also said that they fear shutting down the organisation will “devastate a community for whom the football club is a beacon of hope and expectation”.
Paul Appleton, one of the administrators appointed to Bolton recently, said in a statement that a deal for the sale of the club had been agreed as of 5pm Friday August 23, with relevant undertakings having been issued by solicitors involved on that basis.
However, by the following morning that deal had collapsed and administrators are now urgently attempting to “get a deal back on track” in the hope of seeing the club stave off liquidation.
“At this stage, there seems little point in apportioning blame because that makes no difference to the staff, players, management, supporters and the community who have once more seen their club taken back to the brink,” said Mr Appleton.
“Unless there is a change of position from any of the parties involved, the process of closing down the club and ultimately placing Bolton Wanderers into liquidation will begin this week,” he added.