Greater Manchester Police have started a fraud inquiry which is believed to be into the money crisis that led to Bury’s expulsion from the English Football League last week.
In a short statement, the force said: “On 18 June 2019, police received a report of fraud involving Bury Football Club. No arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.”
That report was made exactly one month before Bury’s owner Steve Dale reached a company voluntary arrangement with the club’s creditors to repay 25% of the £9m owed.
The deal depended on the club being allowed to play this season, something the English Football League, 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 club to someone who could, with the EFL finally running out of patience last Tuesday, making Bury the first club to be expelled from the league since 1992.
The EFL said on Tuesday that it would consult its clubs over the possibility of readmitting Bury next season after it emerged that Greater Manchester Combined Authority had joined forces with local MPs and a Bury fans group in an attempt to save the club and reinsert them into League Two.
The group said it had Dale’s backing and the league responded by outlining that it would speak to its clubs over the coming weeks.
“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,” it said. “This is a complex situation that raises questions of due process, precedent and fairness as well as financial implications.”
The league also pointed out that “the only established procedure for entry to the EFL is through promotion from the National League” and that historically any change to that would be down 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,” the EFL said.
GMCA, led by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, MPs James Frith (Bury North) and Ivan Lewis (Bury South), plus supporters group Forever Bury, has urged the EFL to reinstate the club.
“We are establishing a working group to develop a proposal to the Football League that would allow Bury to be admitted to League Two for the start of the 2020-21 season, subject to the submission of a credible plan to rebuild Bury FC before the end of this year,” GMCA said in a statement.
“First, we will work to develop a clear proposal to the English Football League, by Friday September 20, that will allow us the opportunity to work towards re-entry to League Two,” the statement continued. “Second, if the EFL agree to that proposal, we will then work on a credible plan to rebuild the club, which all signatories to this statement will feel able to endorse. Third, if that credible plan fails to emerge within the deadline then we accept the EFL’s right to impose their original decision.”