Debt-ridden Bolton Wanderers agree sale

English Championship club Bolton Wanderers have agreed a UK£7.5 million (US$10.5 million) takeover by the Sport Shield consortium.

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Bolton, who owe the UK tax body HMRC UK£3 million (US$4.2 million) in unpaid tax and VAT bills, have recently been threatened with administration and possible liquidation. They have been given until 7th March to conclude the deal with the Sport Shield consortium, which is headed up by former striker Dean Holdsworth.

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According to the BBC, the consortium is expected to pay a further UK£12.5 million (US$17.6 million) over the next five years, with Holdsworth becoming chairman.

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Holdsworth confirmed that current chairman Eddie Davies will become club president once the takeover has been ratified, but will not be involved financially in the new operation.

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"Eddie, as part of the agreement, will remain,” Holdsworth said. “He's a fan and will be president of the club, there's a legacy there for Eddie and he's put a lot of money in."

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The HMRC had lobbied for the club to be liquidated and all of Bolton's assets to be sold, including their Macron Stadium, to enable the large debts to be paid. However, the 14-day reprieve in the ongoing tax battle should enable a smooth sale of the club and retention of possessions for now.

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Trevor Birch, an adviser to the Bolton board, believes that the extra time granted will be a great help to the proceedings, saying, 'Whilst this continues to be a challenging time for everyone associated with the club, we are confident that this adjournment will give us the necessary time to conclude a transfer of ownership of the club, subject to approval from the Football League.'

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Bolton, who currently sit second from bottom of the Championship table, are believed to have debts of around UK£173 million (US$244 million) and are currently under an enforced Football League transfer embargo after breaching financial fair play regulations. 

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