Bury FC has been successful in an appeal to stay a sanction imposed by the Manchester FA, pending a substantive appeal being heard.

On 8 January 2024, the Manchester FA informed the club that as a result of the behaviour of two fans during a home game on 2 September 2023, the club were found to be in breach of FA Rule E21.

The club admitted the charge but submitted mitigation in relation to it. Despite this, the Disciplinary Commission imposed a £350 fine and a “two-match full stadium closure”.

The sanction was originally due to be imposed for the club’s home games on 16 January 2024 and 23 January 2024; however, due to weather conditions, the club’s match against Wythenshawe on 16 January 2024 has been postponed so the sanction would have applied to the following home game on 23 January and the 27 January 2024.

Mark Hague and Armin Pishro of Farleys Solicitors, alongside Steven Flynn of Kings Chambers, acted on behalf of Bury FC in an application to stay the sanction pending further appeal.

On Sunday 14 January 2024, the application to stay the stadium closure, pending the outcome of the appeal, was submitted on the basis that:

  1. The appeal has a good prospect of success;

  2. If the stadium closure is not stayed, the substantive appeal would be redundant on the basis that the losses will have already been incurred; and

  3. The club have been given insufficient time to make alternative arrangements ahead of the games subject to the sanction.

On Monday 15 January 2024, the Judicial Panel Vice-Chair, Graeme McPherson KC granted the club’s application and stayed the sanction pending the substantive appeal being heard. The Manchester FA did not oppose the application.

Mark Hague, Partner at Farleys Solicitors commented,

I am pleased to see the outcome achieved today for the club, pending the substantive appeal being heard. The club’s fans are extremely important to them and it would have been wrong for the fans not to have been allowed into the stadium pending the appeal being heard, so the right decision has been reached. I am grateful for the assistance of Armin Pishro and Steven Flynn of Counsel and to the club’s board who all pulled together to get the application dealt with across a weekend and on very short timescales.

For legal advice in relation to sports law or commercial disputes, please contact our commercial team at Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or get in touch by email.