Rochdale AFC facing liquidation by “end of March” as search for buyer goes on

Rochdale AFC is facing liquidation by the “end of March”, bosses have said, as the desperate search for an investor continues.

The 117 year-old club reported a loss of more than £1m last year, and has been seeking a buyer for the last 14 months to resolve their longstanding cash problems.

The Dale were also relegated for the first time in 102 years last season, adding to their financial woes, and currently sit 10 points behind the playoff places.

Simon Gauge, Rochdale’s chairman, said that the club requires a cash injection from an investor of £2m to gain 90% of the club.

Spotland Stadium

Paul Waugh, a political journalist and Rochdale fan who has been using his large Twitter following to rally urgent investment, said: “Rochdale AFC is a fan-led club, whose directors have worked so hard to keep it afloat. We now urgently need some angel investors to avoid liquidation.

“Clubs like Rochdale are brilliant at nurturing raw young talent, often with local roots. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you Rochdale is not a club that spends way beyond its means.

“It’s a disgrace that yet another northern club, a real community asset, is on the brink of going out of business”.

The threat of liquidation has been a growing concern across the lower leagues, with Oldham and Bury both being placed into administration over the last 4 years.

A fan-led review on football governance was produced more than two years ago with the purpose of improving regulation of wealth in football.

However, there has been little to no improvement, and more small clubs have since fallen into administration.

Concern has only grown after the Prime Minister gave a non-answer in response to Clive Betts’ question regarding this governance on today’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

Betts asked Rishi Sunak: “Will the Prime Minister commit now to setting up an independent regulator with the upfront power to intervene to achieve a fairer distribution of the enormous riches which football has to ensure that no community in the future loses it football club like (what) happened in Bury?

“Will he commit to bring legislation forward urgently?”

Sunak responded by agreeing that an independent regulator would help build a sustainable future for all clubs, evading his government’s commitment to setting one up.

Waugh shared Betts’ frustrations with the lack of wealth division and regulation across the English football leagues, saying that the larger clubs appear to be the only beneficiaries of the current system.

“It’s not a coincidence that so many small clubs are facing constant threat of collapse, while at the top of the game millions of pounds are sprayed around like confetti,” he said.

“The real issue is that we need a much fairer redistribution of wealth in the football ‘pyramid’ and an independent football regulator. It’s appalling that the government has dragged its feet on introducing that regulator.

Waugh also called for the Rochdale by-election candidates to step us, regarding the football club as a “valuable local employer and a vital community asset”.

Gauge has called for an emergency meeting with shareholders at Spotland that will take place on the 7th March, with the aim of finding investors to save the club.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been contacted for comment.

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