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Hope for Bury as EFL confirms it will discuss potential re-entry with clubs

The EFL has confirmed it will discuss Bury's future with clubs. Credit: PA

The English Football League (EFL) will discuss with clubs if Bury FC should be reinstated to League Two next season in what would be an unprecedented move.

Bury, founded in 1885, was expelled by the EFL after a last-ditch takeover failed less than two hours before a deadline last week.

Under current regulations, the club’s only route back into the football league is to apply to the Football Association, who then determine the appropriate league if requirements are met.

But the EFL has said it will consider breaking precedence and admitting the club directly into League Two without needing promotion from lower leagues first.

The announcement comes as Greater Manchester Police confirmed it is launching a fraud inquiry at the club.

The club was founded more than 130 years ago. Credit: PA

The EFL said in a statement: “Notwithstanding the above [current regulations], and in acknowledgement of the extreme nature of the problems at Bury FC, the EFL Board had agreed it is appropriate to discuss the matter with member clubs.

“This is a complex situation that raises questions of due process, precedent and fairness as well as financial implications.

"The EFL will consult with its clubs over the coming weeks.”

The EFL stressed “clear evidence” would be needed of the club’s financial viability.

There is no precedent for a club to enter the EFL directly through an application for admission or readmission after membership has been withdrawn, the statement added.

Fans of Bury FC have been left without their club for the rest of the season at least. Credit: PA

Police launch fraud investigation into Bury's demise

In a short statement, the force said: "On June 18 2019, police received a report of fraud involving Bury Football Club. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing."

That report was made exactly one month before current owner Steve Dale reached a company voluntary arrangement with the club's creditors to repay 25 per cent of the £9 million they were owed.

But that deal depended on the Shakers being allowed to play this season, something the EFL, concerned about Dale's ability to finance those debts and the team's costs, refused to sanction.

This resulted in Dale missing several deadlines to either prove he could meet his obligations or sell the Sky Bet League One club to someone else, with the EFL finally running out of patience last week, making Bury the first club to be expelled from the league since 1992.

News that the police have been investigating the club's demise for 10 weeks comes a day after the Greater Manchester Combined Authority announced it was working with local MPs James Frith and Ivan Lewis and supporters group Forever Bury to save the Shakers.