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Shrimps Trust say ‘substantial offer from EFL approved party’ was rejected by Morecambe FC owner

The Shrimps Trust say a ‘substantial offer from an EFL approved party’ was rejected by Morecambe FC owner, Bond Group, last year.

As the saga regarding the sale of the club rumbles on, the Trust, who are the official voice of Morecambe supporters, have issued a statement, in which they detail how they’ve been in contact with a group very interested in purchasing the Shrimps.

It’s understood that a ‘substantial offer’, made by an as yet unnamed party, and in excess of what the club might be worth on the open market, was rejected by Jason Whittingham.

A recent statement from the Shrimps Trust directly invited any interested parties who were looking to acquire the club, to contact them directly.

One such party has done so.

‘’The Shrimps Trust has been working hard to understand and support the sale of Morecambe FC to a credible party, and would like to update fans and members with some important information that has recently been brought to our attention,’’ begins the statement.

‘’Following our statement on Wednesday 3 July, a party interested in buying the club made contact with the Trust. Since then, members of the Trust have held a constructive conversation with this party, who is not able to be named at this time due to legal reasons.

‘’Dialogue with this party revealed that they had previously made a substantial offer for Morecambe FC in the latter months of 2023 - one which the Trust views as being far in excess of what the club could reasonably be understood to be worth. It was also confirmed that one of the owners from the group interested is already approved by the EFL.

‘’However, Jason Whittingham rejected this interested party's offer. Members of the Trust are unsure as to the reason for this, and would be keen to understand why.

‘’The Trust also understands that this interested party is not the one referred to in the recent club statement made on Saturday 6 July, although remain open to speaking to all parties interested in buying the club.

‘’The Shrimps Trust will endeavour to keep members and fans up to date on the sale progress of Morecambe Football Club.’’

On Saturday (July 6), a statement from the Morecambe Football Club Board of Directors said that talks between Bond Group and a bidder were at an ‘advanced stage’, and that submissions would soon be made to the English Football League.

Read more: Morecambe FC board say takeover talks are ‘at an advanced stage’

In any potential ‘takeover’ or acquisition of control as it is formally known, it is the responsibility of the club in question to inform the EFL of a proposed change. 

Once the League has been made aware, the process of making the necessary checks against the requirements of EFL Regulations will then begin. The Regulations ultimately set the criteria regarding who is permitted to own a club - or exercise control over it - and whether they meet the requirements to do so.

Every acquisition process is different (more on this below) but there are three key parts in each case.

First, there is the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, an objective test where prospective owners and directors have to evidence the fact they are not subject to any disqualifying events. The disqualifying events are clear and set out in the Regulations.

Second, the Club and prospective owners must submit Future Financial Information (FFI) to demonstrate how the Club will operate over the period ahead, from which any additional cash requirements to support the running of the Club can be identified.

Finally, any potential owner must demonstrate to the EFL the ultimate Source and Sufficiency of Funding which will underpin the purchase and future operations. Or in simple terms, how much money they have and where it has come from.

Only once all Regulations are satisfied will the EFL issue clearance for any change of control.

The long and protracted sale process has dogged the club for many months.

Morecambe Football Club was put up for sale in September 2022 by Bond Group.

The English Football League (EFL) has to approve any prospective new owner of any club.

Morecambe began pre-season training last Monday (July 1), ahead of the League Two campaign on August 10.

The Shrimps are due to play a number of friendly fixtures in the run up to the new season, including games against Championship side Blackburn Rovers and League One outfit Burton Albion.

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