Bolton given extra time to settle debts, avoid liquidation

LONDON (AP) — Bolton, one of English soccer’s oldest clubs, has been given an extra five weeks to settle its debts and avoid going out of business.

Lawyers for the northwest team were in the High Court in London on Wednesday over an unpaid tax bill of 1.2 million pounds ($1.6 million). The case was adjourned until May 8 to allow time for the club to be sold, which would lead to the debts being cleared.

It is the sixth time in the last 18 months that Bolton, one of the founding members of England’s Football League in 1888, has been threatened with liquidation by tax authorities.

Players are currently on strike in support of staff whose wages were not paid on time for the second straight month and the team is facing relegation from the second-tier League Championship. It is in next-to-last place, five points from safety with seven games left this season.

Bolton’s lawyer, Hilary Stonefrost, told the court that the club’s potential buyer, Laurence Bassini, has proof of funds to complete the purchase. Bassini is the former chairman of English team Watford and was banned from holding a position of authority at an English club for three years in 2013 for alleged financial misconduct.

Bolton was most recently in the Premier League in 2012.