Bolton given two weeks to find buyer and settle debts

By Press Association Sport staff
PA Ready Sport

Bolton have been given two weeks to settle their debts and avoid a winding-up order, a High Court hearing in London has ruled.

The Sky Bet Championship club has won a reprieve with the hearing adjourned until April 3.

Bolton, issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs in February over an unpaid tax bill for £1.2million, faced administration or liquidation, but now have two weeks to find a buyer.

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Bolton are second bottom of the Championship (Clint Hughes/PA)
Bolton are second bottom of the Championship (Clint Hughes/PA)

Barrister Hilary Stonefrost, representing Bolton, told the court the club have a potential buyer lined up who “already owns a major stake in a high-level football club”.

She asked for a 14-day adjournment to give the club time to complete a sale and settle its debts.

Judge Clive Jones, sitting in the Insolvency and Companies Court in London, adjourned the case until April 3.

Bolton said in a statement: “We are pleased to get the adjournment today, which will allow the club to make progress with the interested party.

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“No further comments will be made on the matter at this moment in time.”

Bolton have shed no further light on the identity of a party interested in taking control of the club.

The club have now defended a winding-up petition due to unpaid tax and VAT for a sixth time in 16 months.

They won a similar stay of execution in the High Court three years ago to allow previous owner Sports Shield BWFC to complete a last-minute takeover.

Bolton fans protest against owner Ken Anderson (Martin Rickett/PA)
Bolton fans protest against owner Ken Anderson (Martin Rickett/PA)

Current owner Ken Anderson bought a stake in the club during that buy-out and took majority control in 2017 after Sports Shield went into liquidation.

Bolton confirmed on Tuesday night that a potential buyer had pulled out of talks, but that there were still several other interested parties.

Anderson, who owns 94.5 per cent of the club’s shares, has increasingly struggled to finance the running costs.

The players were paid their February salaries late and the training ground was closed for a day earlier this month, while there was doubt over a recent game against Millwall going ahead due to concerns over policing costs.

Bolton, second from bottom in the table, face a 12-point deduction if they fail to settle their debts. Aldershot were the last EFL club to go into administration in 2013.

Wanderers also face further legal action from League Two side Forest Green, who have confirmed to Press Association Sport that they have started proceedings over the failed transfer of striker Christian Doidge.

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