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Bolton Wanderers sold to former Watford owner Bassini

Embattled English Football League side Bolton Wanderers has agreed an “11th-hour” sale to former Watford FC owner Laurence Bassini, saving the club from entering administration.

SportBusiness reported in March that Bolton had narrowly managed to avoid a winding up order – the sixth it had faced in the past two years – and secured a then-unknown buyer. 

That hearing was initially adjourned until April 3, and then May 8, in order to secure extra time for the deal to go through. 

That buyer has now been revealed to be Bassini who, subject to EFL approval of the purchase, will also acquire full control of the hotel at the club’s home venue, the University of Bolton Stadium.

The news will not entirely come as music to Bolton supporters’ ears. Bassini has twice filed for bankruptcy in the past, once in 2007 and again in 2014 after he sold Watford. At that time, he was handed a three-year ban from any involvement with an EFL club.

It will, however, offer a reprieve to Bolton, whose full-time playing and non-playing staff have still not received their salaries for March, three weeks after they were due. A statement from the club claimed that “significant funds” had now been freed up to not only pay staff, but the club’s long-term creditors as well. 

“The priority was to save the club from going into administration,” Bassini told the BBC, adding: “Now we have to look to restructure and move the club back up to where it belongs.”