Court gives Bolton reprieve from liquidation

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

Cash-strapped Bolton Wanderers have escaped an attempt to have the club wound up immediately by British tax authorities regarding an unpaid bill worth millions of pounds, it was announced Monday.

Bolton, bottom of the second-tier Championship and facing relegation to the third division, are £172.9 million ($247 million) in debt and under a transfer embargo for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, having been relegated from the lucrative Premier League in 2012.

Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise had been seeking to have Bolton wound up over a bill worth £2.2 million. Now the northwest club have been given until Feb. 22 by the High Court to come up with a rescue scheme repayment plan that will satisfy HMRC and other creditors.

Club advisor Trevor Birch welcomed the High Court’s decision to reject HMRC’s attempts to have Wanderers “liquidated.”

“HMRC takes a very strict approach towards football clubs,” he said. “Despite the club putting forward a solution, utilizing 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.”

Bolton were once one of English soccer’s leading clubs, winning the FA Cup three times in the 1920s and again in 1958, but have been left behind by the likes of northwest rivals Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City in recent decades.

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