Whites chairman Ken Anderson expressed his frustration last week that the EFL voted not to grant the Under-23 attacking midfielder permission to play in the senior side, arguing that some of the voters may have had a “vested interest.”
His comments prompted a response from an EFL spokesperson who confirmed that none of the board’s League One representatives, or CEO Shaun Harvey, voted on the matter.
In a statement issued to The Bolton News this week, a spokesman said: “Bolton Wanderers remain under the terms of a transfer embargo due to a default in their filing obligations alongside the failure to provide additional financial information which is required under EFL regulations.
“The embargo permits the club to register up to 23 professional players and at its meeting last week, the EFL Board, given the number of injuries affecting the Bolton squad, was asked to consider a request to take that number to 24 by registering Jeff King to play in the first team. Following due consideration this request was rejected. The board felt that 23 registered players was the fair number for a club under embargo. This number was increased at the start of the season from 20 to reflect that clubs had to observe transfer windows.
“The EFL board operates with elected club representatives from each division. However, on this occasion the two League One representatives opted not to vote to avoid any conflict of interest. The CEO also abstained on the basis that he had to ensure that any decision was implemented.
“The EFL sanctioned the registrations of King, along with Sam Lavelle and Hyuga Tanner earlier this season, on the strict proviso it was for non-first team football in an attempt to assist and further their development as young players. The club was aware at the time of signing these players, that they could not be selected for any first team game without being included in the 23-man quota as per the embargo.
“The club, under EFL regulation 41.7, is able to apply for an emergency month long signing up until the fourth Thursday in March if it is unable to name 18 players on the team sheet for any match due to suspensions or injuries.
“The board felt this long standing provision protected the integrity of the competition without the need to permit a 24th permanent player.”
Speaking to us this afternoon, Anderson said he had “made his peace” with the decision on King but that the matter did lend itself to debate.
“The Football League has been very co-operative with us and the last thing I want is to upset them but I think our case is unique among the League One clubs,” he said. “None of our rivals have had the same number of long-term injuries and though the rules clearly state we had to field 18 players, we have often done so as a disadvantage.
“We have used inexperienced players like Jake Turner or Alex Perry, who are not quite ready for first team football, or asked players to go beyond the call of duty to play before the medical staff would have liked – for example, Reece Wabara, Dorian Dervite, Conor Wilkinson or Max Clayton.
“Normally, a player coming back from long-term injury would get 45-55 minutes but we have had to keep them out there, in some cases, for the whole game.
“We have also had three Under-23s games cancelled and have been unable to get games for the players coming back from injury.”
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