Bury FC have been given hope of a potential Football League future with the EFL set to discuss their plight with member clubs.

A working group led by MP James Frith and including fellow MP Ivan Lewis, Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, council representatives and fans’ group Forever Bury, met on Monday.

They want to see The Shakers back in League Two next season and have set themselves a deadline of September 20 to present a sustainable plan for the club’s future to the EFL.

That prompted a response from the league who have not shut the door on a club they expelled on August 27 after the collapse of C&N Sporting Risk’s takeover from Steve Dale.

While there is “no precedent” for a club to be readmitted as per Bury’s request, the league say they will put the matter to the other 71 clubs.

Any future for Bury in the Football League however is dependent on proof of their financial viability.

The EFL statement in full

In response to recent commentary about the future of Bury FC, the EFL Board would like to provide clarification on a number of relevant points and address suggestions that the Club should be admitted to EFL League Two for the 2020-21 season.

  • The EFL Board reached the decision to withdraw Bury FC’s membership in accordance with the Articles of Association as adopted by the EFL and all member clubs. With regret, this action was taken in the absence of evidence of Bury FC’s ability to meet its financial commitments, whether by the current ownership or any other credible buyer for the Club. Withdrawal of membership was a consequence of severe financial problems at Bury FC over an extended period of time, which had recently led to an insolvency event and a 12-point deduction.
  • The Board recognises the efforts being made by supporters’ groups, local authorities and political leaders and their desire for Bury FC to re-enter the EFL from the 2020-21 season. However, the only established procedure for entry to the EFL is through promotion from the National League as part of the wider football pyramid. There is no precedent for a Club to enter the EFL directly through an application for admission or readmission following withdrawal of membership.
  • In the current circumstances, the process by which a former EFL Club would obtain re-entry to the league system in England is via an application to the Football Association. On consideration of that application, the FA would determine the appropriate League for entry, subject to them meeting the relevant entry requirements of that League.
  • Notwithstanding the above, 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.
  • Prior to formal consideration by any league competition of an eventual application from Bury FC to return to league football, clear evidence would be required of the Club’s financial viability and its ability to fulfil its ongoing commitments. 

The EFL hopes that this statement provides clarity for the current efforts being made on behalf of Bury FC.