Rochdale’s new owners have abandoned their takeover after an investigation was launched into the acquisition of the League Two club, the Football League has announced.
The proposed takeover of the club has been a subject of bitter controversy, with the Labour MP for Rochdale, Sir Tony Lloyd, among those questioning the intentions of the new investors, Morton House MGT.
The EFL issued a statement on Saturday, saying: “On 16 August 2021, in accordance with its regulations, the EFL issued notice to multiple individuals of the commencement of disciplinary investigations in respect to the acquisition of shares in Rochdale AFC.”
“It is alleged that Morton House MGT acquired control of the club, and a number of individuals became relevant persons without the prior consent of the EFL in accordance with the Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT),” the statement continued.
“The EFL’s objective was to gather additional evidence as it continued to investigate whether the club, any official and/or any persons wishing to acquire control of the club complied with the requirements of the OADT and whether any relevant person(s) are subject to a disqualifying condition.
“Having considered the request for information made of them, Morton House MGT has now informed the League that it is formally withdrawing from the approval process and plans to divest the shares acquired in the club at the earliest opportunity.”
The Dale Supporters’ Trust had raised concerns about the takeover, reportedly led by investors Andy Curran, Darrell Rose and Alex Jarvis. The Football League responded with a statement in July, claiming: “The EFL is still to receive any evidence of the source and sufficiency of funding on behalf of any potential purchaser.”
In Saturday’s statement, the league added: “Morton House MGT, its directors and representatives have confirmed to the League they are refusing to cooperate with the League’s ongoing investigations.
“Despite these developments, the EFL will be continuing with its disciplinary investigations into this matter and will take the most appropriate action available. More importantly, the EFL will continue to work with Rochdale AFC as we collectively seek to ensure a successful and sustainable long-term future for the club.”
Rochdale have published the EFL statement on their official website, but have yet to comment further. The team were relegated from League One last season and have taken just one point from their first three games in the fourth tier under their new manager, Robbie Stockdale,