Bolton winding-up case given extra time

Tom Herbert
Acting Editor
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Cash-strapped Bolton Wanderers have avoided an immediate winding-up order after their case was adjourned until 22 February.

In a hearing at the High Court this morning, the Championship club was granted an additional month to continue trading and pay off debts of £2.2m owed to HMRC in unpaid VAT and PAYE.

The extra time allows the Trotters to either find a buyer for the club or obtain short-term funding through the sale of players or other assets.

Speaking after the adjournment, club adviser Trevor Birch said: “HMRC takes a very strict approach towards football clubs.

"Despite the club putting forward a solution, utilising funds generated from its assets that would have enabled repayment of its debt in full over a period of a few months, HMRC refused to agree to an adjournment to give effect to the plan.    

“With that in mind, it is pleasing that the High Court rejected its wish to liquidate the club and that it has given the club time either to raise funds and or conclude a sale.”

Ongoing ownership situation

The club was hit with the winding-up petition in December after reports emerged that it was unable to pay its staff for November due to a "short-term funding issue" caused by "the ongoing situation surrounding the club’s ownership off the field."

Relegated from the Premier League in 2012, Bolton’s financial situation has significantly worsened over the past few months, and the club is believed to have debts in excess of £170m.

The club’s owner Eddie Davies, to whom the majority of the debts are owned, has indicated that he was willing to wipe out £185m in loans owed to him in order to facilitate the sale of the club, which is available for around £15m.

However, although takeover discussions are still ongoing with a number of parties, they are thought to have been held up over reservations about the amount of money borrowed by the potential purchasers.

Bolton is currently bottom of the Championship, threatened with relegation to the third tier of English football, and are barred from signing players after breaching the league’s Financial Fair Play rules.


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